In 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.
Liza Strelka, Manager of Exhibitions
Manager of Exhibitions Liza Strelka
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?
LS: I have to list two: Alma Thomas and Linn Meyers.
Linn Meyers’s 2010 Intersections installation at the Phillips, “at the time being.” Photos: Sarah Osborne Bender
Who is your all-time favorite female artist? Do you remember the first time you saw her work? How does she inspire you?
LS: It’s impossible for me to name just one favorite, but I adore the wooden assemblage sculptures of Louise Nevelson. I was introduced to her work in college, and I’ve visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s sculpture by her countless times since. I could stare at her wood assemblages for hours. The interplay of darkness and light, movement and stillness, and chaos and order in her work speaks to her tremendous talent. Every time you look at a work by Nevelson, something new reveals itself to you.
Name five women artists:
Arlene Shechet with her installation Once Removed (1998). These works are mde from abacá paper and Hydrocal. Photos: Rhiannon Newman
Check out these behind-the-scenes photos of Arlene Shechet installing her Intersections project, From Here On Now. Shechet is a New York-based sculptor known for glazed ceramic sculptures that are off-kilter yet hang in a balance between stable and unstable, teetering between the restraint of intellect and the insistence of instinct.
Shechet in the staircaise of the original Phillips house with Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs Klaus Ottmann. Photo: Rhiannon Newman
Deciding on positioning for Shechet’s Best Behavior (2014). Photo: Rhiannon Newman
Shechet and Ottmann with the artist’s Best Behavior (2014). Photo: Rhiannon Newman
In an adjacent gallery to the one pictured above, portraits from the museum’s permanent collection are hung salon style. Photo: Rhiannon Newman
In addition to her works on view in the second floor of the original Phillips house, Shechet’s ceramics are on view in a first floor gallery of the more recent addition. Shechet and Ottmann are pictured here with For the Forest (2016). Photo: Rhiannon Newman
Arlene Shechet installing Once Removed (1998). Photo: Rhiannon Newman
Marjorie Phillips, Night Baseball, 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 36 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of the artist, 1951 or 1952
My favorite work from The Phillips Collection’s permanent collection is Marjorie Phillips’s 1951 oil painting, Night Baseball. There is something nostalgic about the way Phillips represents a night at Griffith Stadium. This visual representation of the moment just before the pitch is thrown evokes all of the other senses. When I look at this painting, I hear the buzz of the crowd and I feel the wind push my skin as the breeze ushers in the smells of the ballpark. Phillips masterfully depicts a night sky that is black but somehow simultaneously glowing from the stadium lights—an effect that is familiar to anyone who has been to a nighttime sports game.
Night Baseball is an enduring snapshot of American life. Perhaps my favorite thing about this piece is its current placement within the museum: on a wall adjacent to the landing of a staircase; the location seems almost incidental. I think its placement adds to its charm—Night Baseball endears itself to the viewer by immersing her in a sensory-rich, familiar American scene.
Lizzie Moore, Marketing & Communications Intern