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Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism

September 12, 2010 - January 30, 2011

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Hannah Wilke, Venus Pareve
...a puckish, punchy look at the women’s art movement...
The New York Times

Over the past fifty years, feminists have defied an art world dominated by men, deploying direct action and theory while making fundamental changes in their everyday lives. Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism explores the widespread influence of feminist practice on the styles and methods of painting from the 1960s to the present. The provocative paintings on view here embody the tension between individual expression and collective politics, between a traditional medium and radical action.

While not a survey of Jewish feminist art, Shifting the Gaze is drawn primarily from the collection of The Jewish Museum, and features seven new acquisitions from the past three years. Some art historians have argued that Jewish feminists are particularly attuned to sexuality, radical politics, and injustice because of Jewish involvement in modernism and leftist politics. Indeed, Jewish painters have played decisive roles in founding and sustaining major feminist theories and art collectives. This exhibition explores how social revolutions take place not only in the realm of ideas and politics, but in style and form.

Shifting the Gaze is organized into six sections: self-expression, the body, decoration, politics, writing, and satire. These topics reflect the variety of styles and forms that individual painters, often working within activist groups, created to challenge viewers to rethink memory, home, art history, and ritual, and to confront anti-Semitism. Some of the paintings address issues specific to women artists, such as the representation of the body or the legitimacy of craft and decorative arts, while others address social issues that galvanized radical protest. As seen in these works, feminist painting generated new ideas and challenged old ones, shifting the gaze to encompass women’s history, experience, and material culture.

Since the 1980s, The Jewish Museum has supported the work of feminist artists through acquisitions and exhibitions in all media. To offer a historical framework for Shifting the Gaze, the curatorial staff created a list of over 550 women artists, from Renaissance Italian weavers to contemporary video artists, who have been represented in special exhibitions at the museum since 1947.

Gallery of Images

Women Artists at The Jewish Museum, 1947–2010: Essay | Sortable Index

Artist Talks
All talks are at 1:00pm, free with museum admission.
Monday, October 4Joyce Kozloff
Tuesday, October 5Judy Chicago
Monday, October 11Mira Schor
Monday, October 18Curator Daniel Belasco
Monday, October 25Deborah Kass
Monday, November 1Robert Kushner
View photos of the artist talks on Flickr.


Related Essay
Curator Daniel Belasco for Lilith Magazine: Size Matters: Notes on the Triumph of Feminist Art (Fall 2010)

Interview
Inspiration: Feminism, Curator Daniel Belasco speaks about the exhibition, The Jewish Daily Forward on YouTube (9/24/2010)

Checklist (PDF) | Floor Plan (PDF)

Blog
Eva Hesse: Abstract Expressionist Painter (1/26/2011)

Selected Images
Tashlich

Louise Fishman (American, b. 1939)

Tashlich, 1984

  • Oil on linen
  • 25 1/8 x 17 1/8 in. (63.8 x 43.5 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of the artist in memory of Kristie A. Jayne, 1990-5

Not on view Paintings

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Tashlich

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Tashlich


Napalm Man

Leon Golub (American, 1922-2004)

Napalm Man, 1972

  • Oil on canvas
  • 33 1/16 x 56 1/8 in. (84 x 142.6 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Isidore Samuels, 1998-93
  • Art © Estate of Leon Golub/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Not on view Paintings

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Napalm Man


Untitled

Eva Hesse (American, b. Germany, 1936-1970)

Untitled, 1963-64

  • Oil on canvas
  • 59 x 39 1/4 in. (149.9 x 99.7 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Helen Hesse Charash, 1983-234

Not on view Paintings

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Untitled

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Untitled



War Drawing (IV) Adam: This is the Picture We Saw

Not on view Paintings

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War Drawing (IV) Adam: This is the Picture We Saw

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War Drawing (IV) Adam: This is the Picture We Saw


Self-Portrait

Lee Krasner (American, 1908-1984)

Self-Portrait, c. 1930

  • Oil on linen
  • 30 1/8 x 25 1/8 in. (76.5 x 63.8 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Esther Leah Ritz Bequest; B. Gerald Cantor, Lady Kathleen Epstein, and Louis E. and Rosalyn M. Shecter Gifts, by exchange; Fine Arts Acquisitions Committee Fund; and Miriam Handler Fund, 2008-32
  • © 2008 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view Paintings

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Self-Portrait


I'm a Jew, how 'bout U?!!
  • Latex on wood
  • 76 3/4 x 40 in. (194.9 x 101.6 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Fine Arts Acquisition Committee Fund and Anonymous Gift, 2001-86

Not on view Paintings

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I'm a Jew, how 'bout U?!!

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I'm a Jew, how 'bout U?!!


Lilith

Melissa Meyer (American, b. 1947)

Lilith, 1992

  • Oil on canvas
  • 80 x 78 in. (203.2 x 198.1 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Jeane U. Springer in memory of Joy Ungerleider-Mayerson, Patricia M. Erpf, The Morris Ginsberg Family Foundation in memory of Pepi Ginsberg and Joy Ungerleider-Mayerson, and Lois Fried, Gifts, 1995-2

Not on view Paintings

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End of Day XXXV

Louise Nevelson (American, b. Ukraine, 1899-1988)

End of Day XXXV, 1973

  • Painted wood
  • 32 1/8 x 16 1/2 x 2 5/8 in. (81.6 x 41.9 x 6.7 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Hanni and Peter Kaufmann, 1994-583
  • © 2008 The Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view Sculpture

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End of Day XXXV

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End of Day XXXV


Hard Sweetness

Joan Snyder (American, b. 1940)

Hard Sweetness, 1971

Not on view Paintings

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Hard Sweetness

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Hard Sweetness


Study for Morning Requiem with Kaddish

Not on view Paintings

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Study for Morning Requiem with Kaddish

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Study for Morning Requiem with Kaddish


Masha Bruskina

Nancy Spero (American, 1926-2009)

Masha Bruskina, 1995

  • Acrylic on linen
  • 122 1/4 x 146 1/2 in. (310.5 x 372.1 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Fine Arts Acquisitions Committee Fund, Blanche and Romie Shapiro Fund, Kristie A. Jayne Fund, Sara Schlesinger Bequest, and Miki Denhof Bequest, 2002-12a-c

Not on view Paintings

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Masha Bruskina

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Masha Bruskina


Victims, Holocaust

Nancy Spero (American, 1926-2009)

Victims, Holocaust, from The War Series: Bombs and Helicopters, 1968

Not on view Works on Paper

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Victims, Holocaust

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Victims, Holocaust


Venus Pareve

Hannah Wilke (American, 1940-1993)

Venus Pareve, 1982-84

  • Painted plaster of Paris
  • Each: 9 7/8 x 5 3/16 x 3 5/16 in. (25.1 x 13.2 x 8.4 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Lillian Gordon Bequest , 2000-20a-i
  • Copyright © Marsie, Emanuelle, Damon and Andrew Scharlatt

Not on view Sculpture

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Venus Pareve



Related Links

Reviews
A Raucous Reflection on Identity: Jewish and Feminine, The New York Times (9/10/2010)

Made possible, in part, by the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art.

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