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Baltimore Museum of Art dedicates entire year of shows to women artists

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Katharina Grosse: Two Younger Women Come In And Pull Out A Table
Photo by Peter Cox

To mark 100 years since women were given the right to vote in the United States, Baltimore Museum of Art has announced its whole year of exhibitions will be dedicated to artists who identify as female. The initiative titled 2020 Vision will feature 13 solo shows and seven thematic shows beginning in autumn 2019, entirely comprised of women artists, and the reinstallation of several of the museum’s permanent collections to “emphasise the depth and diversity of women’s artistry through time”.

Highlights include a retrospective of the American abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, commissions by Mickalene Thomas and Katharina Grosse, a survey of Candice Breitz’s video works, and topical shows such as By Their Creative Force: American Women Modernists and Adorned: African Women & the Art of Identity.

It is the latest progressive and industry-leading step in the BMA’s campaign to address the race and gender diversity gaps in museums around the world, and better represent “the spectrum of individuals that have shaped the trajectory of art,” the museum said in a statement. The gallery has nearly 3,800 works of art by 1,050 women artists and designers. The first painting by a woman artist to enter the museum’s collection was a portrait by Sarah Miriam Peale, considered the first American woman to succeed as a professional artist.

BMA’s Christopher Bedford continues: “The BMA’s 2020 Vision initiative serves to recognise the voices, narratives, and creative innovations of a range of extraordinarily talented women artists. The goal for this effort is to rebalance the scales and to acknowledge the ways in which women’s contributions still do not receive the scholarly examination, dialogue, and public acclaim that they deserve.”

Conversely, a recent survey of the British public found the UK’s top ten favourite artists of all time to be entirely male. It’s Nice That attempted to redress the balance by creating its own top ten female artists, as selected by ten members of the creative industry.