Women Who Empowered a Movement
Abstract Expressionism often brings to mind the work of artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, whose reputations have reached heroic heights. They have been posited as innovators—the creators of one of the most uniquely American art movements in history. The significance of the contributions made to Abstract Expressionism by Pollock and his male contemporaries should not be underestimated, but nor should the contributions of the many female artists who not only helped to found the movement but who continued to define abstraction for many decades.
Great efforts have been made in recent years to reevaluate the development of Abstract Expressionism in relation to women’s contributions and it is from these efforts that this show builds. Drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection of works on paper, the work of pivotal artists including Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, and Deborah Remington as well as the work of contemporary artist Mary Heilmann, a leading figure in abstract American art, are brought together to demonstrate that the masculine lens through which abstraction has been previously understood must be removed.