The art historian Linda Nochlin asked a groundbreaking question in her 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” She criticized the question as one that faulted women for a lack of genius and then charted the institutional and cultural barriers that had prevented women from achieving the same kind of success as Michelangelo or Pablo Picasso. In 2017, women artists remain underrepresented. The works of women artists account for three to five percent of major permanent art collections in the United States. That statistic is then reflected in exhibitions that are dominated by the works of male artists. To continue to underepresent female artists is to feed the myth that they lack the artistic genius that sparked the careers of great artists such as Michelangelo. This exhibition uses the Mystic Museum of Art’s permanent collection to flip the statistics — the work of male artists accounts for only four percent of the total works on display, demonstrating how curatorial choices can create narratives that have a greater cultural impact.
The exhibition, curated by Erika Neenan, will be on view from March 31 – June 3.