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.

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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

A Phillips Woman on Women Artists: Liza Strelka

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

Liza Strelka photo

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.

2010 Intersections installation, at the time being by 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: 
Francesca Woodman
Nancy Spero
Faith Ringgold
Ana Mendieta
Jennifer Bartlett

Behind the Scenes with Arlene Shechet

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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.

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Shechet in the staircaise of the original Phillips house with Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs Klaus Ottmann. Photo: Rhiannon Newman

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Deciding on positioning for Shechet’s Best Behavior (2014). Photo: Rhiannon Newman

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Shechet and Ottmann with the artist’s Best Behavior (2014). Photo: Rhiannon Newman

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In an adjacent gallery to the one pictured above, portraits from the museum’s permanent collection are hung salon style. Photo: Rhiannon Newman

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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

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Arlene Shechet installing Once Removed (1998). Photo: Rhiannon Newman