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January 29th 2018

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Resonarium © 2018 Charlotte Charbonnel

We are delighted to announce that Charlotte Charbonnel has been chosen by the curatorial team at NMWA for the 2018 edition of Women to Watch.

Charlotte’s work is like an ever-evolving chrysalis. “I work predominantly with metal - iron filings, copper, glass, salt and sound – which I use in the form of sound installations and sculptures. I try to question the material, its transformation, changes, vibrations and energy to revive it and push it to form an illusion of itself.”

Charlotte Charbonnel graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Tours and Ecole nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs (Paris). Her work has been recently shown at Maréchalerie in Versailles, at Verrière Hermès in Brussels, at Musée Réattu in Arles, at Gaité Lyrique, at Palais de Tokyo in Paris and at Pont Scorff in Bretagne.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC will be exhibiting works by 21 selected international artists including three by Charlotte Charbonnel, French laureate of Women to Watch 2018.

We would also like to thank the five shortlisted artists and their galleries:
Marianne Anselin, Katinka Bock, Jennifer Caubet, Charlotte Charbonnel and Laura Lamiel
as well as Alicia Knock, curator at the Centre Pompidou, who advised us throughout the selection process.


November 27th 2017

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Louise Bourgeois Spider [Araignée], 1995. Vue de l’exposition. Photo © Les Amis du NMWA

The new exhibition, Women House , at the newly renovated Monnaie de Paris, will travel to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in March 2018.

Women House was inspired by Louise Bourgeois and Niki de Saint Phalle’s explorations of the “femme maison”, questioning women’s identity and their relationship to the domestic sphere. The show’s title is also a nod to Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro’s 1972 project Womanhouse, a collaborative installation and performance project. A film clip of Johanna Demetrakas’ film documenting Womanhouse sets the scene for a varied show, at turns thought-provoking, whimsical and humorous. (Johanna Demetrakas’ full feature film will be screened by SensoProjekt on November 30th )

While second wave feminist artists draw attention to their limited domestic sphere - Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen talks us ironically through the tools of a “woman’s place”, Birgit Jurgenssen stages herself as a kitchen appliance and her drawings have women ironing out men or cleaning windows - other artists express their socio-spatial limits in staged photographs and performance. Claude Cahun’s 1932 photograph of herself trapped on a shelf is hung alongside Kirsten Justesen’s 2013 interpretation. Lydia Schouten’s film takes a more brutal aesthetic with the white leotard-clad artist rubbing up against the blackened bars of a cage.

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Laure Tixier parle de ses Plaid Houses lors de la visite des Amis du NMWA. Photo © Les Amis du NMWA

But it is not just confinement that is at stake. The theme of women carving out a figurative and actual space of their own recurs throughout the show. Nil Yalter’s Topak-ev (“the yurt”), is a recreation of a nomadic shelter. Typically a woman’s space, Yalter’s yurt is covered in text by a Turkish writer on the nomadic way of life with its traditional gendered roles.

The courtyards house three “sculptures maisons”, Niki de Saint Phalle’s Nana Maison II, Joanna VasconcelosMiss Jasmine, a giant wrought-iron teapot, and Shen Yuan’s Salon de Coiffure, a shelter of giant plaits of hemp fibre. In each case the artist becomes architect of her own space.

Upstairs, domestic space is reinterpreted as functional and communal in Andrea Zittel’s A-Z Escape Vehicle and Lucy Orta’s Body Architecture, respectively. It can also be nostalgic as in Rachel Whiteread’s Airbed, a cast of a bed’s imprint, or Laure Tixier’s Plaid Houses, which recall childhood dens.

Rather than limiting, Women House proves that the domestic space - and our relationship to it - is rich ground for creation and interpretation.

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Shen Yuan, Salon de Coiffure, 2000. Vue de l’exposition. Photo © Les Amis du NMWA ,

Women House is on at Monnaie de Paris until January 28th 2017, it will be on show at NMWA from March 9th to May 28th 2017.

Womanhouse, a film by Johanna Demetrakas, will be screened by SensoProjekt at the Cinéma Reflet Médicis on November 30th at 8pm.

Round table: “Art: feminine gender”, organized by the Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, together with AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions, in partnership with Monnaie de Paris.
Thursday November 16th at 7pm
Thursday December 14th at 7pm.


September 1st 2017

This year the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) celebrates its 30th anniversary.

When NMWA opened its doors to the public in 1987, it became the first museum in the world devoted to celebrating the accomplishments of women artists. “Over the last three decades, we have charted a new course for museums by consistently, often brazenly, bolstering the careers of many women artists. It is a fact that women continue to be unfairly underrepresented in museums and galleries, nationally and internationally,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “We stand as advocates for equity and excellence when it comes to women in the arts, and our generous donors and partners, visitors, and online communities support us and are key to our ongoing success. Allow me to extend an invitation to all audiences to celebrate women artists’ accomplishments by participating in our 30th-anniversary exhibitions and programs.”

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Gala du 30ème anniversaire au NMWA. Photo © Les Amis du NMWA

To commemorate the museum’s 30th anniversary, NMWA has organized a year of special events, including a gala dinner back in April, group and solo shows, library exhibitions and talks. Exhibitions include Revival, an exhibition of contemporary women sculptors and photo-based artists, and opening in the fall, Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, the first U.S. exhibition to explore the formal and historical dialogue on abstraction among black women artists. Earlier in the year Les Amis du NMWA were particularly proud to announce From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir, an installation at the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center. Other library exhibitions include Wonder Women!, currently showing, and from September Inside the Dinner Party Studio, which explores Judy Chicago’s monumental and radical work The Dinner Party.

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Judy Chicago dans une installation au NMWA. Photo © Les Amis du NMWA

Recently NMWA has worked to increase awareness of gender equity issues with its unprecedented platform for public conversation through the Women, Arts and Social Change initiative. The Fresh Talks series continues this fall with talks by Judy Chicago and Mexico City-based artist Mónica Mayer in conjunction with the fall exhibitions. In November the Museum welcomes Mónica Mayer with her project, El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project. This work, which began in Mexico City in the 1970’s and has traveled widely since, gives public visibility to specific female experiences of oppression.

For more details of the exhibitions, visit the NMWA website.

Click here for the full schedule of Fresh Talks.


January 20th 2017

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Katie Wat, conservatrice en chef du NMWA, à l’ouverture de l’exposition “Terrains of the Body: Photography from the National Museum of Women in the Arts” à la Whitechapel Gallery. © Les Amis du NMWA

January 18th saw the opening of Terrains of the Body: Photography from the National Museum of Women in the Arts at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. The exhibition presents a display of photography and video works drawn from collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Works by seventeen contemporary artists from five continents capture women on camera in domestic spaces and expansive landscapes. By turning their camera to women, including themselves, these artists embrace the female body as a vital medium for expressing identity, reflecting individual and collective experience, and forming narratives. The display features works by Marina Abramović, Rineke Dijkstra, Anna Gaskell, Nan Goldin, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, Candida Höfer, Icelandic Love Corporation, Mwangi Hutter, Kirsten Justesen, Justine Kurland, Nikki S. Lee, Hellen van Meene, Shirin Neshat, Daniela Rossell, Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation, Janaina Tschäpe and Adriana Varejão.

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Kirsten Justesen, Portraet Arkiv Med Samling (Portrait in Cabinet with Collection) 2013, chromogenic print mounted on Dibond with matt acrylic, National Museum of Women in the Arts. Gift of Montana Mobler A\S. Exhibition view. © Les Amis du NMWA
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Hellen van Meene, Untitled (79), 2000, Untitled (68), 1999, Untitled (151), 2002, Untitled (83), 2000, chromogenic prints, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection. Exhibition view. © Les Amis du NMWA

Terrains of the Body: Photography from the National Museum of Women in the Arts is on at the Whitechapel Gallery until April 16 2017

Events around the show include a talk by Rineke Dijkstra, one of the artists featured in the exhibition (Prix Pictet Conversations on Photography, Febuary 16th) and a seminar on Collecting Art by Women (March 4th).

In the press:

The Whitechapel Gallery’s all-female exhibit is a quiet, intelligent protest: Terrains of the Body, review. The Telegraph, January 18th 2017

The Whitechapel Gallery’s new photography show proves that the depiction of female bodies is still a contentious issue, I News, January 18th 2017


January 6th 2017

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Bettina Flitner, Simone de Beauvoir in her studio, 12 bis rue Schoelcher, Montparnasse, Paris, March 1986; Photograph; ©

Les Amis du NMWA are delighted to announce the opening of a Simone de Beauvoir installation at the NMWA on January 6th 2017.

From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir is an interpretation of the Paris working space of the famous philosopher and feminist which invites visitors to reflect on her impact and continuing influence in the areas of literature, philosophy, and popular culture. It will be an interactive space where visitors can leave comments on how de Beauvoir has inspired them. The hashtag #BeauvoirSays will be used to share and continue the discussion.

Events around the installation include reading groups on Beauvoir’s The Woman Destroyed and Sarah Bakewell’s book At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails, as well as a panel discussion on The Second Sex taking place on April 2nd.

This exhibition was organized after NMWA was awarded the The Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom 2015, thanks to the support of Les Amis du NMWA in Paris.


July 30th 2016

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Liz Ogpu, speaker at FRESH TALK: Liz Ogbu & Swoon—How do we build to better? Photo by Ryan Lash Photography

An ambitious new initiative, Women, Arts and Social Change, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts is attracting new visitors to the museum and broadening its mission.

What is Women, Arts and Social Change? It’s a new series of programs focusing on women and the arts as catalysts for change. Artists, architects, critics, designers, executives from the arts sector and social theorists are all brought together with the public at the museum to advance ideas and solutions to society’s most pressing issues – especially those affecting women and girls – and to inspire action in the arts and beyond. The presentations and panel discussions are followed by either a family-style dinner for all participants or a cocktail reception allowing guests to interact with the presenters.

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Sunday Supper. Photo by Kevin Allen

Watch the latest FRESH TALKS on youtube by clicking the links below:

FRESH TALK: Liz Ogbu & Swoon—How do we build to better?

FRESH TALK: Righting the Balance—How can the arts advance body politics?

Upcoming talks:

March 29 2017: FRESH TALK: Ann Hamilton and Emily Pilloton—How can makers change the world?

Mai 21 2017: FRESH TALK: How can the arts inspire environmental advocacy?

June 14 2017: FRESH TALK: Who are the new superwomen of the universe?


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Françoise Pétrovitch, Untitled, 2014; Ink on paper, 160 x 240 cm (63 x 94 1/2 in.). © Hervé Plumet. Courtesy of Semiose galerie, Paris. Gift of Les Amis du NMWA, Paris, France with support from the GRoW Annenberg Foundation.

The French artist selected for the 2015 Women to Watch group show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts was the subject of an important solo show at the Frac PACA in Marseilles : Françoise Pétrovitch – S’absenter. , from July 2 through Oct 30, 2016. The show coincided with two other exhibitions of Pétrovitch‘s work in the region at the Centre d’Art René d’Anjou (July 3 - Oct 30) in Tarascon and Espace pour l’Art (July 4 - August 6) in Arles. In 2015 Les Amis du NMWA gifted a work to NMWA with generous support from members of Les Amis du NMWA and the GRoW Annenberg Foundation.

The 2015 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom
was awarded to

the National Museum of Women in the Arts

January 2015

WASHINGTON—The Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom has chosen to honor the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), located in Washington, D.C., with its annual award. NMWA is the first organization in the United States to be presented this award. The prize was awarded to the museum during an official ceremony on January 9, 2015, taking place at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris...

Click on the document below to read the full press release.

Click here for the Université Paris Diderot Paris 7 web site and the film of the ceremony.

NMWA Google Art Project
NMWA Google Street View
Women in Culture
AWARE Women Artists

For other current and upcoming exhibitions by women artists please click here.

If you are going to London, check out the events of the UK Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, UK.

For more information about the museum’s other committees, click here.

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