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Celebrating Women Artists: Marking Women's History Month at Crystal Bridges

By Will Watson, Interpretation Intern

Alma Thomas, Lunar Rendezvous-Circle of Flowers
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be closed Monday, May 13, to prepare for the visit of Antiques Roadshow. We will return to normal hours of operation Wednesday, May 15.

Historically, women’s contributions to art, culture, and academia have been disregarded or erased entirely. In a largely male-dominated field, women artists constantly face financial obstacles, limited access to education, and restrictive societal norms. Crystal Bridges is committed to supporting women in the arts—both by collecting their work and by supporting our own staff members in creating safe spaces for employees of all cultural backgrounds.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, members of the museum’s Women’s Employee Resource Group shared a few of their favorite works by women artists:

 

Agnes Pelton, Sand Storm
Agnes Pelton, Sand Storm, 1932, oil on canvas, 30 1/4 × 22 in. (76.8 × 55.9 cm) Framed: 37 3/4 × 29 3/4 × 2 1/2 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2012.504. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

 

“My favorite woman artist from our collection is Agnes Pelton. We have two pieces of hers, Divinity Lotus and Sand Storm (Sand Storm is currently on view). She created beautiful abstractions that were grounded in the desert environment she was living in and in her spirituality.”

—Ciara Brown, Exhibitions Assistant, Collections

 

Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz, 1928.
Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz, 1928, oil on canvas, 38 x 26 1/4 in., Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Co-owned by Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2012.75. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

 

“Florine Stettheimer was a modernist painter and the first woman to receive a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. With the help of her mother and sisters, she hosted a salon frequented by many notable artists. I particularly love this whimsical portrait of her friend, the photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz. She surrounds him with references to other artists in their circle, including his wife, the famous painter Georgia O’Keeffe.”

— Marie Hofer, Content Specialist, Art & Architecture

 

Genesis Tramaine, Evidence of Grace, 2020, acrylic, gouache, oil stick, and oil pastel on canvas, and Yahweh!, 96 in. × 72 in. × 2 1/2 in. (243.8 × 182.9 × 6.4 cm), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, Gift of Sarah Simmons, 2021.22. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.
Genesis Tramaine, Evidence of Grace, 2020, acrylic, gouache, oil stick, and oil pastel on canvas, and Yahweh!, 96 in. × 72 in. × 2 1/2 in. (243.8 × 182.9 × 6.4 cm), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, Gift of Sarah Simmons, 2021.22. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

 

“Genesis Tramaine’s inclusion of the Divine Name in the medium for Evidence of Grace immediately caught my attention, and I continue to be drawn in by her non-traditional reflections on Christian themes. The crisp green background contrasting with the ever-morphing, multi-layered figures within figures mirror the contrasts of clarity and mystery—and stability and change—I often experience in my own journey of faith.”

—Libby Hilliard, Collections Information & Rights Assistant, Collections

 

Alma Thomas, Lunar Rendezvous-Circle of Flowers
Alma Thomas, Lunar Rendezvous-Circle of Flowers, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 50 × 48 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.

 

“I admire Alma Thomas as a female artist and love her Lunar Rendezvous—Circle of Flowers painting. I had an opportunity to see an exhibition dedicated to Thomas’ work at Frist Art Museum and was inspired when I learned more about her leading contributions to color field painting and engagement with students as an art teacher in Washington DC.”

—Miquel Geller, Registrar, Collections

 

JooYoung Choi, Time for You and Joy to Get Acquainted
JooYoung Choi, Time for You and Joy to Get Acquainted, 2017, Wooden armature, fabric, polyfoam, 108 × 115 × 85 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2020.28. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

“One of my favorite female artists is JooYoung Choi (pronounced Joo-Yung Chay) who illustrates a fictional world inspired by her experiences as a Korean American adoptee. Choi uses fibers, textiles, sewing, and a glue gun to make her colorful characters and environment come alive in 3D. She even animates her world through puppetry and videography.

Outside of my museum work, I identify as a Vietnamese American female artist who seeks ways to represent my own lived experience. When I look at Choi’s work, I feel connected to the artist through her struggles with transnationality, a concept where people feel they belong in more than one place or culture simultaneously. We live in a world where migration creates a hybrid mixture between cultures and challenges traditional concepts of identity, nationality, and nation. I think Choi and I both make artwork to process and share our transnational experiences as a way of introspection and to fight loneliness through representation.”

– Kim Lý, Production Technician

 

As March comes to a close, Crystal Bridges invites you to continue to reflect year-round on the countless contributions by women to art, history, and your own life.

– By Will Watson, Interpretation Intern

 

Women's History Month: Agnes Pelton
Agnes Pelton, Sand Storm

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a gallery view of

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