Exhibitions | Exhibitions To the North

Women, Surrealism, and Abstraction at NEHMA


August 25, 2020 – May 7, 2022

Drawn exclusively from the Museum collection, Women, Surrealism, and Abstraction endeavors to look beyond typical art historical boundaries and to begin to lay claim to a more holistic and complex view of art history—one that includes parties left out because of aesthetic biases based on a system of privileged white male patrimony.

During the 20th century, art made by women was often overlooked or dismissed by museums, collectors, and art historians. An ironic side effect of this absence of attention was that it lessened the constraints and dictates of the marketplace for women, allowing for increased experimentation and the pursuit of a personal vision in ways often less available for their male counterparts.

Until more recently, women of color—especially Native American women—have rarely been included in art historical studies focusing on Surrealism and abstraction. In addition, artists who work in ceramics, fiber arts, photography, and printmaking, rather than painting and sculpture, are often left out of these studies as well. However, Surrealism and abstraction offered women a glimpse of a world in which creative activity and liberation from societal expectations co-existed, allowing them to embark on the difficult path to artistic freedom.


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