A Phillips Woman on Women Artists: Racquel Keller

13In honor of Women’s History Month and The National Museum of Women in the Arts #5WomenArtists challenge, we’re highlighting some of the spectacular women on our staff and the female artists who inspire them.

Racquel Keller, Museum Shop Supervisor, Art Instructor, and Working Artist

Racquel Keller

Racquel Keller

Do you have a favorite woman artist from The Phillips Collection, or a favorite female artist whose work has been on display at the museum?
RK: One of my favorite women artists from The Phillips Collection is Sally Mann. I love the element of southern gothic storytelling that her black and white landscape photographs evoke and am always glad to see Untitled (From “America Now & Here: Photography Portfolio 2009”) on our gallery walls.

Sally Mann_Untitled

Sally Mann, Untitled (from “America Now + Here: Photography Portfolio 2009”), ca. 1995. Digital c-print, 20 x 24 in. Gift of Carolyn Alper, 2010. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Who is your all-time favorite female artist? Do you remember the first time you saw her work? How does she inspire you?
RK: Wow…my all-time favorite female artist? There are so many amazing women artists that it is hard to choose. I will say that Käthe Kollwitz is the one whom without fail seems to reach out of the paper and grab me. Every single time I see one of her works I am freshly taken in by the raw, stark emotion laid bare for the world to see. When I look at her work I think she must have been someone who could not have survived life without creating. I can’t remember the exact first time that I saw her work, but I remember being awestruck by the power and self-assured nature of her hand. Until that time, the only examples of women artists that I had been exposed to were artists who painted softer subjects such as domestic scenes. Kollwitz’s sure hand inspires me to approach every work with clarity and confidence.

Name five women artists:
RK: Louise Bourgeois
Sarah Bernhardt
Maria Sibylla Merian
Francesca Woodman
Kara Walker

Performers of the Belle Époque: Yvette Guilbert

Each week for the duration of the exhibition, we’ll focus on one work of art from Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque, on view Feb. 4 through April 30, 2017.

Yvette Guilbert

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Yvette Guilbert, 1893. Brush and crayon lithograph, printed in brownish black on wove paper. Only state, regular edition, from Le Café Concert album, Paris: L’Estampe originale. Private collection

Pictured here, Yvette Guilbert had a vocal style, unusual physical appearance, and celebrated comic timing that won her international celebrity. She sang songs by poets and writers that tackled themes of death, sex, and poverty. She relied on humor to soften “all the indecencies, all the excesses, all the vices of my contemporaries, and to enable them to laugh at themselves.”

Constructing New Space for Art

Rendering of the Phillips@THEARC space

Rendering of the Phillips’s space at Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), expected in 2018

We’re excited to share a progress report on our space at Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC). Announced in 2015, The Phillips Collection’s long-term partnership with THEARC willl include dynamic, multi-generational programs grounded in the notion that art, when integrated with personal experience, can change lives. Above is a rendering of the space the Phillips will occupy; below is a photo of the construction thus far, courtesy of sanchez palmer architects. We can’t wait to see more!

phillipsatthearc construction

Phase III building construction of THEARC (the Phillips’s space at bottom left corner)