Last fall, the season of exhibitions fueled major controversy in the art world. The reason? An alarming lack of women-led exhibitions in major museums around the country. In this week’s Wednesday 5, we share with you our top five picks for exhibitions in 2014 featuring phenomenal women in art. Whether you’re checking out the art scene in Stanford, New York City, Boston, Chicago, or Miami, here are five women who should not be missed. 

 

1.

“Her Story”: Prints by Elizabeth Murray, 1986–2006
January 22–March 30, 2014 | Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University

Manhattanwiggle“Her Story”: Prints by Elizabeth Murray, 1986–2006, includes all 42 of the groundbreaking editions made at New York’s Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) from 1986, when Murray first created prints there, through the last two decades of her prolific career. Primarily drawn from a private collection, this comprehensive selection of prints has never before been shown as a group.  Murray belonged to a generation of artists who emerged in the 1970s exposed to Minimalism and Pop Art of the time—as well as earlier models such as Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism—and who experimented with new modes of expression. In this inventive artistic environment, Murray gained distinction by using bold forms and vivid objects and occurrences from everyday life. As Critic Roberta Smith wrote in the artist’s New York Times obituary, Murray “reshaped Modernist abstraction into a high-spirited, cartoon-based, language of form whose subjects included domestic life, relationships and the nature of painting itself.”

 

2.

Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video
January 24–April 23, 2014 | Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

CMW2Carrie Mae Weems is a socially motivated artist whose works invite contemplation of race, gender, and class. Increasingly, she has broadened her view to include global struggles for equality and justice. Comprehensive in scope, this retrospective primarily features photographs, including the groundbreaking Kitchen Table Series (1990), but also presents written texts, audio recordings, and videos. The exhibition traces the evolution of Weems’s career over the last 30 years, from her early documentary and autobiographical photographic series to the more conceptual and philosophically complex works that have placed her at the forefront of contemporary art. Although Weems employs a variety of means to address an array of issues, all of her work displays an overarching commitment to better understanding the present by closely examining history and identity. It also contains a desire for universality: while African Americans are typically her primary subjects, Weems wants “people of color to stand for the human multitudes” and for her art to resonate with all audiences.(Excerpted from guggenheim.org)

 

3.

Multiple Occupancy: Eleanor Antin’s “Selves”
March 19–July 6, 2014 | The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

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Eleanor Antin, who was born in New York in 1935, is a pioneer of Conceptual Art who works primarily in performance, photography, film, video, and installation. She uses fiction, fantasy, and theatricality to examine the ways that history takes shape, and also to scrutinize the role that visual representation plays in that process.

Between 1972 and 1991, Antin created and embodied a number of different “selves” of varying genders, races, professions, historical eras, and geographic locations. Some she physically embodied and captured on film; others were represented via paper doll or puppets that she manipulated, often with faux-naiveté. Multiple Occupancy: Eleanor Antin’s “Selves” is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on these multiple personae. Antin’s multi-disciplinary body of work continues to inspire viewers and artists alike to question the nature of self-representation, performance, looking, transformation, and the mutability of identity. (Excerpted from icaboston.org)

 

4.

Isa Genzken: Retrospective
April 12–August 3, 2014 | Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Isa GenzkenIsa Genzken is one of the most important and influential female sculptors of the past 30 years. Yet, although she had a solo show at Chicago’s Renaissance Society in 1992, she has never had a large-scale retrospective in an American museum. This exhibition of work by the Berlin-based German artist seeks to correct that oversight, introducing American audiences to the breadth of Genzken’s 30-plus-year career. Her early work was initially in dialogue with Minimalism but quickly spiraled out into ideas about hybridity and what has come to be known as the “post-medium” condition, a blurring of traditional distinctions between media such as painting, sculpture, and photography. It is difficult to pinpoint any artist working in this period who has pursued such an intentionally varied path, and in recent years, a new generation of artists, curators, and art lovers has been inspired by her radical inventiveness. The past decade has been particularly productive for Genzken, who has taken her interest in found objects and collage and created several bodies of work that have redefined assemblage for a new era. (Excerpted from mcachicago.org)

 

5.

Wangechi Mutu: A Fantasic Journey
April 18–July 6, 2014 | Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Mutu_Hundred_Lavish_Months_of_Bushwhack_2004The groundbreaking work of Kenyan-born, New York based-artist Wangechi Mutu combines poetic symbolism with profound sociopolitical critique to explore issues of gender, race, and war. With over 50 works from the mid-1990s to the present, this first major solo museum exhibition for Mutu includes her collages, drawings, installations, sculptures, performances and videos. Combining found materials and magazine cutouts with sculpture and painted imagery, Mutu’s work references African traditions, international politics, the fashion industry and science fiction. (Excerpted from moconomi.org)