We begin May looking forward to an encore presentation of WiVLA’s “Inspired by Her Quote” show (formerly the Library Show) at VENETO COLLECTION on May 14 from 10 am to 5 pm. In March we were invited by the owner to collaborate with the VENETO COLLECTION in their beautiful retail space at 1121 Uptown Park #15. During May 14 our WiVLA writers in the “Inspired by Her Quote” chapbook will read from the chapbook. Perhaps Sandi Stromberg’s poem “Buy That Red Dress” was prescient as there will be a SALE in the store during the day! Our art work will remain in the store until May 21.
By now our collaboration partners for “Windows” – one writer and one artist – are working to prepare their work which will be submitted by July 2 so that our committee can begin work on the anthology. The anthology of all the work in the collaboration will be presented on opening night in Brazosport on September 17. WiVLA’s member collaborations have become a signature event for WiVLA. WiVLA is differentiated from other organizations in our collaborations, supporting our members’ creative development, and providing varied venues and opportunities to show the work of our artists and writers.
WiVLA was founded in 1994 by a writer, an artist and an art consultant because they thought creative women needed group to support them. On Sunday, April 3, 2016 our focus and mission was reinforced by the lead story in the “Arts and Leisure Section” of the New York Times, “Through the Prism of Gender,” which discussed the “surge of women-only shows sharpens the focus on artists who may have been overlooked and whose works may be undervalued.”
Women-only shows the article explains fell out of favor during the 80’s and 90’s although no woman was listed in the art history text, “Janson’s History of Art,” until 1987. Last year only seven percent of the artists on view at the Museum of Modern Art were women. A sample of one women shows this year named in the article include: “Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women” at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in their new Los Angeles branch; the Saatchi Gallery in London; and “No Man’s Land” at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami. And the Denver Art Museum and Minneapolis Institute of Art have plans for women-only shows.
“They are really curatorial correctives to counterpoint the looked-overness,” said Maura Reilly, the founding curator of the Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and now interim director of the National Academy Museum. Further she pointed out, “Obviously great women artists have emerged, but unfortunately those are still token achievers.”
Contributions of women artists have often been overlooked. The recent uncovering of correspondence owned by the New York Historical Society about Clara Driscoll (1861-1944), the director of the Women’s Glasscutting Department at Tiffany Studios found that much of their Tiffany lamp collection was in fact the work of these women. This discovery is the catalyst for the Center for the Study of Women’s History – a $31 million investment to be housed on the 4th floor of the Historical Society building near the Tiffany display.
One of the living artists in the Denver Museum show is Judith Godwin, 85: “I had so many guys tell me in the 50’s that women just could not paint. “ Her auction record is $26,000 in 2006: “I am a woman and I’ve always struggled in that capacity. I don’t want to deny it. I am honored to be in any show – especially a show of women.”
Yes, WiVLA continues to be relevant and necessary. At our May 17 meeting members and interested non-members are invited to bring samples of their work to share during our “Circle of 5” where in small groups you can share your work and talk about what you are currently creating. We hope you will join us.