Art in Your Ear on Women Literally Making their Marks – Print Show at the MFA

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On Art in Your Ear  (10/16/15) we spoke with the lead people who put together the new show at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete, Marks Made: Prints by American Women Artists from the 1960s to the Present.  Easily the best show I have seen in a long time, Marks Made brings together work from some of the top American artists such as Louise Nevelson, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Barbara KrugerMiriam Schapiro, Helen Frankenthaler, Kiki Smith; current stars of the art world including Kara Walker, Sara Sze, Julie Mehretu, Judy Pfaff, Leslie Dill, April Gornik, everyone! bound to continue illuminating the world; and a host of names familiar to local art lovers – Babs Reingold, Marie Yoho Dorsey, Claudia Ryan, Jovi Schnell, Elisabeth CondonJane Hammond, plus many other artists.

Collectors Martha and Jim Sweeney worked with the MFA’s Curator of Contemporary Art Katherine Pill, and former Chief Curator Dr. Jennifer Hardin on this show for years. Erika Schneider, owner of Bleu Acier Atelier, Master Printer and professor of graphic design at USFSP, and the MFA staff to put together this survey, most of which is now in (or is promised to be in) the MFA’s permanent collection.

Notepad by Sarah Sze
Notepad by Sarah Sze

Jim, Katherine and Erika joined Art in Your Ear to talk about putting the show together; the tricky navigating of wanting to highlight artists who are women with not wanting to need to highlight women artists. Several recent articles point out that while women proportionally to population are artists, less than 30% of solo museum shows are of artists who are female, and in NYC, only 25% of the solo shows are by women artists.

Yet few artists seem to want to be included in a show because of their gender, They would prefer to not be excluded from a show because of their gender.

Made Marks is a delight to see. The work is loosely grouped thematically. The abstract expressionists Anni Ablers and Lee Krasner hang out; there is a group of appropriation art, and the Guerrilla Girls have their wall, declaiming, sadly still mostly true, that most of the women in museums are portraits of them nude. But the Guerrilla Girls, and other feminist art groups, have always found ways to be funny and pointed:

Guerrilla Girls
Guerrilla Girls

Marks Made is at the MFA through January 24. The museum is planning a Wikipedia hackathon–where in an intense night more than a hundred women artists will be added to the online encyclopedia. Stay tuned to Art in Your Ear to find out more about that and other arts and cultural events in the community.

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