This exhibition features works by women artists in the forefront of Feminism’s Second Wave (1960s–80s), an era of protest, organization, and activism by women in the arts and in American society. Works are included by artists who were prominent in the movement during this period: Emma Amos, Judy Chicago, the Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, Ana Mendieta, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, and Martha Wilson, among others. Drawn from the Museum’s holdings, Women’s Work highlights a number of recent acquisitions on view for the first time.
During Feminism’s formative decades, feminist art practice and ideologies took many forms and addressed many issues involving both the personal and public spheres. The exhibition is organized around five selected themes from the complex history of the Second Wave, including the marginalization of women artists and their exclusion from the art historical canon, the female body and its representation, “women’s work,” sexuality and gender, and race and ethnicity.
Women’s Work: Feminist Art from the Collection responds to Smith College faculty and students who expressed the desire for increased representation of the work of feminist artists in the Museum’s collection. The exhibition is funded, in part, by the Judith Plesser Targan, class of 1953, Art Museum Fund, and by the Carlyn Steiner ’67 and George Steiner Endowed Fund, in honor of Joan Smith Koch.