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Lipstick Traces: Women in the Collection

June 20 - August 23, 2009 Free Admission

“Lipstick Traces: Women in the Collection” is a celebration of outstanding work by women artists in the Daum’s permanent collection, including signature compositions by Helen Frankenthaler, Betty Woodman, Pat Steir, Ruth Duckworth, and Michiko Itatani, among many others.

The exhibition begs the question, Does gender influence creativity in the visual arts? At this point in the early 21st century, it might seem contrary to recall the time when women in the arts were not considered to be operating on a par with their male colleagues. Historical myopia, disparaging criticism, and institutional hostility resulted in few opportunities for women artists throughout the modernist period. When art historian Linda Nochlin posed her germinal question, Why have there been no great women artists? (1972), strategies that addressed the blatant imbalance began a process of profound change. Artists directly confronted historical prejudice with artworks and art practices that parodied and problematized notions of hierarchy, universality, and patriarchal dominance.

Today, these efforts have resulted in an efflorescence of women in the arts. In terms of respect, education, and commercial success, women have made substantial gains on the world stage. Group exhibitions, such as this one, no longer serve a recuperative purpose; instead, they highlight the heterogeneous character of artwork made by women during the last four decades. The works here are installed in clusters that are meant to create associations that are mainly aesthetic in nature. Gender is usually incidental to this dialogue – lipstick traces that evoke an era of promise and achievement.