Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction

María Freire. Untitled. 1954

Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 × 48 1/16" (92 × 122 cm). Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro

Starr Figura Hello and welcome to Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction.

After World War Two, opportunities for women began to expand both in the United States and around the world. During this period, abstraction was the dominant art style internationally. Many women artists — including those whose work you’ll see in this exhibition — forged new inroads into the traditionally male arenas of painting and sculpture. Others pursued independent visions through photography or works on paper. And still others pioneered new techniques or pushed more traditionally female art forms, like textiles and ceramics, into innovative and powerful expressions of abstract art.

Their path wasn’t easy. Women had to struggle to gain footholds in an art world dominated by men. And until the early 1970s, when the feminist movement gained momentum, they had little support. Each of them had to make her own space, and pursue her own artistic development within it.

On this tour, you’ll hear commentary from many MoMA curators describing the important, if often overlooked, contributions of these women artists. And we’re especially fortunate to be able to hear from a number of the artists themselves, explaining their processes and recounting their experiences as women and as artists during this pivotal period in the history of modernism.

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