Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale

Exhibition Info
Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
Curated by
Jodi Throckmorton
Brittany Webb
This exhibition invites viewers to consider how size and repetition can be interpreted as political gestures in the practices of many women artists.

Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale examines the approaches of women artists for whom space is a critical feature of their work, whether they take the space on a wall, the real estate of a room through sculpture and installation, engage seriality as a spatial visual practice, cast a wide legacy in art history or claim the space of their body. This exhibition invites viewers to consider how size and repetition can be interpreted as political gestures in the practices of many women artists.

Featured artists include Mequitta Ahuja, Polly Apfelbaum, Jennifer Bartlett, Maria Berrío, Chakaia Booker, Emily Brown, Joan Brown, Tammy Rae Carland, Squeak Carnwath, Vija Celmins, Elizabeth Colomba, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Eiko Fan, Louise Fishman, Audrey Flack, Mary Frank, Viola Frey, Hope Gangloff, Judy Gelles, Nancy Graves, Guerrilla Girls, Ellen Harvey, Clarity Haynes, Orit Hofshi, Barbara Kruger, Winifred Lutz, Vanessa Marsh, Ana Mendieta, Leah Modigliani, Elizabeth Murray, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Dona Nelson, Louise Nevelson, Ebony G. Patterson, Liliana Porter, Debra Priestly, Ana Vizcarra Rankin, Faith Ringgold, Mia Rosenthal, Brie Ruais, Betye Saar, Miriam Schapiro, Mira Schor, Alyson Shotz, Sylvia Sleigh, Becky Suss, Mickalene Thomas, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Marie Watt, Dyani White Hawk and Deborah Willis.

Featuring works from the permanent collection, including many recent acquisitions, Taking Space is one of three exhibitions at PAFA in 2020–2021 celebrating women artists in honor of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

Select Featured Works

Faith Ringgold, Tar Beach, 1990 © Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Faith Ringgold, Tar Beach, 1990 © Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Deborah Will, I Made Space for a Good Man, 2009
Deborah Willis, I Made Space for a Good Man, 2009
Marie Watt, Skywalker/Skyscraper (Allegory), 2012
Marie Watt, Skywalker/Skyscraper (Allegory), 2012
Brie Ruais, Stripped Away From Center, 130 (Night), 2018
Brie Ruais, Stripped Away From Center, 130 (Night), 2018

Exhibition Support

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Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, and The Straus Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Wind Foundation. 

Special exhibitions are generously supported by Jonathan L. Cohen, Robert E. Kohler and Frances Coulborn Kohler, and the Lau Longsworth Charitable Fund.  Additional support is provided by the Armand G. Erpf Fund and donors to the PAFA Annual Exhibition Fund. 

Fund for Women and Art at PAFA: Championing Women Artists Since 1810  

Emily and Mike Cavanagh, the Alice L. Walton Foundation, Ralph Citino and Lawrence Taylor, Jules and Connie Kay, Ro and Martin King, Sueyun and Gene Locks,John and Leigh Middleton, Maggie and Brien Murphy, Donna Ostroff and Carl Capista, P. J. Rosenau, Howard Sacks and Vesna Todorović Sacks; Amy and R. Putnam Coes III, Marilyn Fishman and James MacElderry, The Miller-Worley Foundation; Jane and Casey Brandt, Isabel S. Wilcox; Linda Lee Alter, Elizabeth Glassman, Sharon Lorenzo, and Jim and Keith Straw. Honorary members: Rina Banerjee, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Audrey L. Flack, Marguerite Lenfest, Anne E. McCollum, Sarah McEneaney, Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman. 

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