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The Female Subject

On View Saturday, December 21, 1996–Sunday, February 9, 1997

Rockwell Hall   

Beginning in the 1960s, as feminists scrutinized social systems, people questioned whether artists' perceptions were different because of their sexes – in turn affecting how they represented women in their works. Their studies revealed that throughout the centuries, the majority of male artists had depicted women stereotypically as either seductresses or mothers, paragons of evil or virtue, using the female body to represent the object of male desire and control. Female artists, on the contrary, often conveyed more information about individual character when depicting themselves and others.

Works from the museum’s collection that raised issues about female subjectivity and identity in this exhibition of work by women artists depicting themselves and others were presented. These works traced how the female subject has been represented since the turn of the century. Visitors were challenged to draw their own conclusions about the role sexual difference may have played in the past, and if current artists have been successful in providing more equitable and varied representations of the female subject.

Curated by Nancy Weekly, The Charles Cary Rumsey Curator and Director of the Curatorial Department