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Mickalene Thomas, Tamika sur une chaise longue avec Monet, 2012. Photo: the artist and Lehmann Maupin.
Mickalene Thomas, Tamika sur une chaise longue avec Monet, 2012. Photo: the artist and Lehmann Maupin.

Baltimore Museum of Art to Devote 2020 to Celebrating Women Artists

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is launching a yearlong program of exhibitions dedicated to the presentation of female-identifying artists. The initiative is part of the BMA’s efforts to address race and gender diversity gaps within the museum field. It also coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which was ratified on August 18, 1920 and guaranteed women in the US the right to vote.

Beginning in the fall, the museum will stage thirteen solo exhibitions and seven thematic shows, including “By Their Creative Force: American Women Modernists,” “Adorned: African Women & the Art of Identity,” and “Women Behaving Badly,” which will examine representations of female power and protest in European and American art. Highlights also include a large-scale commission by Mickalene Thomas, a monographic survey of Joan Mitchell’s career, a presentation of Candice Breitz’s video works, and the reinstallation of several of the museum’s galleries to emphasize the depth and diversity of women’s artistry through time.

Over the last several years, the museum has striven to expand its exhibitions of women artists and artists of color in order to more accurately reflect the population it serves. Last year, it announced that it would auction major works by white, male artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg and use the funds to add more works by artists underrepresented in its collection. With the proceeds, works by Melvin Edwards, Meleko Mokgosi, and Amy Sherald have entered its collection.

“The BMA’s 2020 Vision initiative serves to recognize the voices, narratives, and creative innovations of a range of extraordinarily talented women artists,” said museum director Christopher Bedford. “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. This vision and goal are especially appropriate, given the central role women have played in shaping this museum throughout its history.”