Women Forward: Celebrating Women�s History Month, 2009

First Biennial

Special Guest Artists: Judy Chicago, Faith Ringgold, Toshiko Takaezu
plus Yoko Ono’s “Imagine Peace”

Part 1: March 7 – April 12; Opening Sat. Mar. 7, 4–6 pm

Liz Surbeck Biddle, Lili Bita, Hildy Burns, Janet Fish, Regina Granne, Amy Greenfield, Samia Halaby, Gloria Kennedy, Donna Moran, Carmen Porfido, Carol Quint, Kunie Sugiura, Cynthia Winika

Part 2: April 25 – May 31; Opening Sat. Apr. 25, 4–6 pm

Nivi Alroy, Bahar Behbahani, Elle Burchill, Rodriguez Calero (RoCa), Fei Cui, Andrea Cukier, Irene Hardwicke Olivieri, Soojung Hyun, Elodie Lauten, Alexandra Limpert, Leonor Mendoza, Olek, Yupin Pramotepipop, Shan Shan Sheng, Kumi Yamashita

Curated by Yuko Nii

Catalog available, with essay by Robert C. Morgan
(Email wahcenter@earthlink.net to reserve your copy)

See the Opening Ceremonies on http://www.youtube.com/wahcenter


"Women Forward, a terrific exhibition of Women artists...will explore the importance of female artists in contemporary society"
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York, March 7, 2009

"Brooklyn is at the forefront of recognizing not only the enormous contribution women have made to the visual arts—but also the obstacles and hardships that women have had to overcome to get their due in the male dominated art world."
Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, March 7, 2009

Lucid Culture, March 9, 2009

Lucid Cultutre, April 28, 2009

Around Town, March 6, 2009

Robert Zaller

Judy Chicago: Caroline Herschel Test Plate (Early #2), 1975-78, China Paint on Porcelain, 14" diameter

Faith Ringgold: Jazz Stories: Mama Can Sing, Papa Can Blow #5: You Put the Devil in Me, 2004, Acrylic on canvas with fabric pieced border, 84" x 70"

Toshiko Takaezu: Moon, n.d., Stoneware, 22" x 22"

Special Events

Saturday, March 14, 6 pm

Poetry Reading and Performance MORE>>
Poets Lili Bita, Patricia SpearsJones, Nicole Cooley, Serena J. Fox and Kristin Prevallet, and performance of a monologue of Medea and Electra by renowned Greek performer/poet Lili Bita. $10

Sunday, March 15, 2 pm

Panel Discussion: Why Are Women Artists Still Underrepresented in Major Collections? MORE>>
Panelists: Dorian Bergen (ACA Galleries), Katherine Griefen (A.I.R. Gallery), Dena Muller (Art Table), art critic and writer Andrzel Lawn, artist Lili Bita, and Dr. Robert Zaller. Moderators, Mark Cohen and Christine Richardson. $10

Saturday, May 9, 3 pm

Where are the Women? MORE>>
Composed by 12 women. Flute Solos by Andrew Bolotowsky. $10

Fridays and Saturdays, 8 pm, May 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23

Theater Night: A Woman Artist’s Journey MORE>>
New work by members of the Brooklyn Playwrights Collective, presented by the WAH Theater under the direction of Peter Dizozza.

Curator's Statement

In 1987 the US Congress passed a resolution to designate the month of March as “Women’s History Month,” and the US President issues an annual proclamation during that month to acknowledge and honor some outstanding women in America who have achieved in their chosen careers and contributed so much to the society.

So, the WAH Center is going to have a special exhibition starting in March, 2009 entitled, “Women Forward,” to celebrate the “Women History Month,” to honor those women artists who have achieved their worthy recognitions in their chosen artist career and have contributed so much to the art world, also some other women artists who are on the way to be recognized in the art world. As the curator of the show, I have gathered 31 outstanding women artists whose works will be included in the show. These selected women artists are from various cultural backgrounds with different ages, expressing their artistic visions with multiple media. Some are already known nationally and internationally as “most prominent artists” and they are also considered to be “some of the most respected inspirational artists and leading mentors” to many people. The list includes such well-known names as Judy Chicago (white American), Faith Ringgold (Afro-American) and Toshiko Takaezu (Asian America) whom I honor as Special Guest Artists, and who present the rich racial and cultural diversity of women achievers in the arts, and for whom I hold deep appreciation and respect for their having paved the bright path for the future generations of women artists. Some have gone through the 1960s and ’70s Women’s Lib or other women’s activist movements, while others of the younger generation might not know anything about them, having never experienced difficulty as female artists in their chosen career.

The remaining 28 selected women artists with outstanding merits are from various backgrounds such as Europe, Far East (China, Korea, Japan, Thai), Latin America, Middle East, South America and the USA, and they express their artistic visions in multiple media, such as Painting, Drawing, Watercolor, Printmaking, Photography, Embroidery, Book Art, Collage, Ceramics, Sculpture (metal, plaster, glass, wood, fiber, paper), Mixed Media Installation, Video, Film and Media Art including all forms of Sound Performance.

As I also thought it would be interesting to see and compare the differences among the two separate groups of artists in their statements, expressions, media and their cultural backgrounds, I have decided to have a two-part “Women Forward” show spanning three months.

We are printing a 96-page full color catalog with an introduction by the highly regarded international art critic, artist, curator, and lecturer Robert C. Morgan.

In preparing the catalog for the show, I asked each artist to write a statement based upon their personal experiences by following these questions as guidelines. Some may not apply to them.

  1. Have you ever experienced prejudices against you as a woman in pursuing your career in the art world?
  2. How conscious are you about being a woman in expressing your thoughts or feelings in your art?
  3. Have you belonged to a political movement “Women’s Lib” or “women’s awareness group”?
  4. Are you satisfied with the current situation in the art world, being treated as a person, or a woman?
  5. Describe some positive aspects, how the women’s movement has changed the status of women’s career today.
  6. Are there any negative effects from the women’s movement?
  7. Is the situation for women in the arts better or worse than other countries for women in the arts. What about Europe? Asia? Middle East? Etc.
  8. How do you see the future for women, particularly yourself, in the arts?
  9. Any other thoughts you would like to express or talk about?
  10. Would you like to participate in a symposium at the Center on these topics?

Even though today there are just as many women artist as men artists have been exposed in the art world, I was aware of the issue of lack of representation of women in the major museums, commercial galleries, art fairs, and even in public auctions. It was brought into greater focus by the following statistics from New York Magazine article “Where are all the Women?,” November 26, 2007:

  • MoMA: 5-8% of artists on view between 2004 to present were women, 92-95% were men
  • The Whiney Museum: 15% women, 85% in the permanent collection are men.
  • The Frick Collection: 99% men, 1% women.
  • The 2007 Venice Biennale: 24% women, 76% men.
  • Art Basel Miami: 27%, women73% men.

Thus, I feel it’s very important for great (women) artists to show to the world what they have done and are doing. I would like our audience to know more about them and their works. Great artists and their works can influence and inspire not only women artists, but also men artists, as well as the public in general. Furthermore, we hope the “Women Forward” events will help open our hearts and minds in order to become more aware of the importance of Women’s Issues. Knowing the fact that millions of women in the world are still struggling, despite their talents and intellects, we should examine their concerns with renewed interest.

Besides the fine art show, we are arranging for a panel discussion, inviting directors of non-profit, commercial galleries, museums and universities, curators, critics, art historians, writers, and of course, artists.

The issue to be addressed by the panelists is: “Why is it that there are so many women who run galleries, write for major art publications and are curatorial heads of museums, while so few women are in important collections? Women art collectors are major influences in the high stakes collecting world. Yet they themselves seem to relegate women artists to only a lesser position.” The tentative date is on Sun. 2-5 pm, March 15th, 2009.

The other events include a poetry reading afternoon by a renowned poet/performer Lili Bita and some other outstanding women poets, also a theatre production organized by our theatre director, Peter Dizzoza, and performed by the Brooklyn Playwright Collective. The dates will be announced later.

As the multifaceted, multicultural, non-profit WAH Center’s mission is to coalesce the diverse artistic communities, and create a bridge between local, national and international artists, emerging and established artists, and artists of all discipline, hopefully this event will fulfill our mission, and one can expect an interesting, colorful and truly artistically rich spring season. I feel it’s a perfect time to have this important “Women Forward” event to present these unique, stimulating programs for many to remember in this politically and economically changing world, especially with the new leadership and anticipated new direction of President Barak Obama.

My motto for this year is, “Happy, Healthy and Hopeful New Year, 2009!!” We think forward, we go forward , “Women Forward” and look forward to making the new year brighter than the gloomy one many fear!!

Yuko Nii

Founder & Artistic Director
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center (WAH Center)