August 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote in the US, and in honour of that, the Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland will be dedicating a year of exhibitions and programmes to the presentation of the achievements of female-identifying artists.

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires 2010 by Mickalene Thomas
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires. 2010 by Mickalene Thomas. Image: The Baltimore Museum of Art

Called 2020 Vision, the initiative will include 13 solo exhibitions and seven thematic shows beginning in fall 2019, with additional presentations still being planned. Highlights include a large-scale transformative commission by Mickalene Thomas, which will transform the BMA’s two-storey East Lobby into a living room for the city with new wallpapers, furnishings and prints. There will also be a major monographic survey of Joan Mitchell’s career, an exploration of Candice Breitz’s video works, and the reinstallation of several of the Baltimore museum’s galleries to emphasise the depth and diversity of women’s artistry through time. 

A painting of Bracket 1989 by Joan Mitchell
Bracket 1989 by Joan Mitchell. Image: Estate of Joan Mitchell. Photograph: Katherine Du Tiel

These presentations will be supported by a wide range of programmes on women’s contributions to art history and the development of many of the artistic institutions that we know today. The initiative builds on the museum’s aim of expanding its presentations of women artists and artists of color, and to more accurately reflect the community in which it lives. It is also part of the implementation of its broader vision to address race and gender diversity gaps within the museum field. 

Pink Tulip 1926 painting by Georgia O’Keeffe
Pink Tulip. 1926 by Georgia O’Keeffe. Image: The Baltimore Museum of Art

The initiative begins in October with By Their Creative Force: American Women Modernists, which focuses on artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Maria Martinez and Amalie Rothschild who influenced major 20th century movements. It will open Free Form: 20th Century Studio Craft and Adorned: African Women & the Art of Identity in December. Free Form presents works by innovative embroidery, ceramic, and jewellery artists like Mariska Karasz and Baltimore-based artists Gloria Balder Katzenberg and Betty Cooke. Adorned features two dozen works that demonstrate the critical role of 20th century African women in shaping and maintaining social identities through objects created in clay, cloth and beads. 

Painting of Child's Bonnet, late 19th century by anunidentified artist.
Child's Bonnet, Late 19th century by unidentified artist. Image: The Baltimore Museum of Art

“The BMA’s 2020 Vision initiative serves to recognize the voices, narratives, and creative innovations of a range of extraordinarily talented women artists,“ says Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis director. “The goal for this effort is to rebalance the scales and to acknowledge the ways in which women’s contributions still do not receive the scholarly examination, dialogue and public acclaim that they deserve.” 

The painting Ingres' Bath 1993 by Grace Hartigan
Ingres' Bath 1993 by Grace Hartigan. Image: The Baltimore Museum of Art / Estate of Grace Hartigan

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art has a collection of 95,000 objects in its 210,000- square-foot museum and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

For further information, please visit the website here

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