Finally, an Exhibition Devoted to the Women of Abstract Expressionism
September 24, 2015 - Jill Steinhauer for Hyperallergic.com
The paradigm of the “overlooked female artist” is both a cliché and a truth. We all know the art market is unceasingly hungry, and previously sidelined women artists are the perfect food. But that doesn’t change the fact that countless female artists have been ignored, forgotten, and stepped on, that movements defined by their male stars have entire other histories still in need of writing.
Exhibitions are a way to begin that process, and next spring, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) will mount one. The title — Women of Abstract Expressionism — says it all: this is a show devoted to the women artists involved with the famously macho movement, and it is the first of its kind. Highlighting better-known names — Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell — alongside lesser-known ones — Sonia Gechtoff, Perle Fine — the exhibition will encompass 12 women’s work, “focus[ing] on the expressive freedom of direct gesture and process at the core of abstract expressionism, while revealing inward reverie and painterly expression,” according to the description. It will also include a new video exploring these women’s lives — the particulars as well as the broader (sexist) cultural conditions of the 1950s — through their own testimony and that of their children.