Metro Weekly

Gallery: National Museum of Women in the Arts

It's never been easier to get to know the National Museum of Women in the Arts and its vast and diverse collection of art

National Museum of Women in the Arts, NMWA, gallery, art

NMWA: Amy Lamb, Vase of Flowers I, 1999

“We need connection and community now more than ever, and the arts can provide that bridge,” says Susan Fisher Sterling, director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. “Museums have often served as places of refuge and solace.”

Of course, we’ve had to sacrifice such notions of refuge and solace for the time being, with all museums, including NMWA, closed due to COVID-19. Interestingly enough, however, in certain respects it’s never been easier to get to know the museum and its vast and diverse collection of art.

Since the COVID-19 shutdown, the museum’s staff has worked diligently to bolster its digital content and presence.

Last month, the museum launched a special portal, NMWA @ Home, which offers many resources and ideas for exploring and discovering the museum and women in art.

Most notably, guests can now peruse the museum’s full collection, featuring more than 1,000 artists and 5,000 objects, searching by name, time period, medium, or theme. Additionally, the portal includes hundreds of profiles of women artists.

Visitors can also wander the collection in a manner similar to how they do in person — by exploring nearly a dozen online exhibitions, including the recently added Wanderer/Wonderer: Pop-Ups by Colette Fu.

This fascinating display of intricate, large-scale pop-up books focuses on those that the artist, a Philadelphia native, has created to capture “haunted landmarks around her hometown,” as well as others portraying the myths, legends, and little-known minority cultures found in China’s Yunnan Province, her ancestral homeland.

Naturally, the most popular woman artist in the world — Frida Kahlo — is well-represented in the collection of “the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts.”

Explore the online exhibition Mamacita Linda: Letters between Frida Kahlo and her Mother, which examines the storied Mexican artist’s bond with her mother. More significantly, you’ll find online Kahlo’s Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, which is the only Kahlo painting hanging in any museum in Washington, D.C.


Viriato, 2005 Joana Vasconcelos

NMWA: Portrait of a Noblewoman, ca. 1580, Lavinia Fontana — Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

NMWA: Arreau, Hautes-Pyrénées, 1949 Loïs Mailou Jones

NMWA: The Stags, Patricia Piccinini

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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