Art is long. And as long as there has been art, there have been women artists. Research reported in National Geographic has suggested that up to three-quarters of ancient cave paintings were made by women. And, women are still at it. Women’s History Month is a great time to check out what half of the world’s artists have been creating.
“Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing” is on view at the Whitney through April 17. Packer’s diaphanous portraits and images from nature lie just beyond our grasp. We recognize people, poses, and places, but through a hazy, dream-like quality of light and color. It’s intentional. Of the title, Packer told The Art Newspaper, “’The eyes are not satisfied with seeing’ comes from a Biblical scripture. For me, the takeaway from that is that our senses are limited — there is always something beyond what we perceive and therefore you’re never really able to represent it.” The New York artist brings wisdom, openness, and a kind eye to her subjects.
At the Guggenheim, through May 2, Jennie C. Jones, another New York artist, brings a multi-sensory experience to her solo exhibition “Dynamics,” comprised of works specially created for the show. Jones’ work is visual, tactile, and, at times, audible. There’s a sound installation on the sixth floor of the museum, along with “acoustic paintings,” constructed from architectural felt and other sound-related materials on the first two floors of the rotunda. In a modernist mix of Minimalist painting and sculpture, the artist riffs on crossovers between sound, space, and sight.
Also on view at the Guggenheim, through June 13, is Gillian Wearing’s exhibition “Wearing Masks.” In a project undertaken long before wearing masks became fraught, complicated, and familiar, Wearing’s photographs, videos, sculptures and paintings consider a media-saturated society, identity, and what’s revealed and concealed when we, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.”
“We’re About Girl Power”
The Museum of the City of New York celebrates the month with three special programs. March 18 brings “Pretty Big Movement” a troupe of bountiful, beautiful, full-figured dancers who brilliantly prove that one size does not fit all. Akira Armstrong, founder and CEO, and a gifted and dedicated dancer, turned frustration with finding opportunities into a movement with followers around the world. She and her troupe, specializing in Hip-Hop, Jazz, African and Modern dance, will perform at the MC’NY Poets’ Café. “We’re about girl power,” Armstrong said, just before the troupe brought “America’s Got Talent” audiences to their feet for a standing ovation in 2015. See how “Pretty Big Movement” entertains, inspires, and moves others. It’s part of an evening that includes a poetry reading with an open mic.
Also at MCNY is a March 10 presentation and discussion of “Born in Flames,” which the museum describes as a “radical feminist indie film” by Lizzie Borden. On March 30, “Raise Your Voice with Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya” is a talk with the artist/activist and Carmelyn P. Malalis, former Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. See mcny.org for full schedules and details.
If you want to make sure future Women’s History Months have even more women artists to celebrate, you can help write women’s history. Art + Feminism is a group that hosts Wikipedia edit-a-thons around the world. Organizations like libraries, museums, and universities host gatherings both in-person and virtually, guiding volunteers through creating Wikipedia entries for women whose stories deserved to be told. From British Columbia to Brisbane, Mumbai and Dallas, there’s someone hoping to help you write women’s stories. Check it out at artandfeminism.org/events/