For the Hunter, the yearlong initiative is the latest in an ongoing commitment to nurture a broad collection of American art by, among other things, increasing the number of works by women in the museum’s permanent collection. Since 2005, when the Hunter’s new building opened and ushered the museum into the 21st century with an updated look and expanded gallery space, the museum has organized 18 solo exhibitions of women artists, three of which traveled to other institutions around the country. In the last year, the Hunter has acquired nine major works by female artists, including the first major commission for the museum lobby by Brooklyn artist Alyson Shotz. And this year, the museum will put on view in its permanent collection galleries most of the works by female artists that it owns.
Here’s an overview of what the Hunter has planned in addition to its permanent collection gallery focus on female artists:
The F Word: We Mean Female!
May 22 to September 13, 2020
A special exhibition spotlighting larger installation pieces, many of which are rarely on view, The F Word will include a range of artworks by women, all drawn from the Hunter collection. These experiential works, made in the last three decades, address a mix of subjects that affect us all, from social justice and inequity to identity and beauty.
Baggs McKelvey: Indigo
Mid-February 2020-March 2021
Inspired by the Robert Rauschenberg painting Opal Reunion, one of the works in the Hunter’s permanent collection, Chattanooga artist Baggs McKelvey will create a site-specific, year-long installation constructed primarily of denim. Denim is iconic in the U.S., with connotations ranging from slavery in the production of cotton and indigo dyes, to Americana and the working class, and, most recently, to ecological concerns as clothing is quickly made and discarded. Through her installation in the Hunter’s East Art Lounge, McKelvey will help guests explore various facets of the Rauschenberg painting, as well as give them an opportunity to consider environmental issues as they view her work against the backdrop of the Tennessee River flowing below.
Keeping up Appearances: Ashley Blalock
March 29, 2020 to April 4, 2021
San Diego-based artist Ashley Blalock is best known for her enormous crocheted red doilies. Her works fuse craft and fine art and are inspired by everyday artifacts from the domestic sphere. Responding to the Hunter Museum’s architecture and considering how people walk through the space, Blalock’s large-scale, site-specific, year-long installation will welcome museum visitors at the intersection of the East Wing and the Douglas Fir Gallery and lead them up the staircase to the Hunter Mansion.
October 2, 2020, to January 10, 2021
Morrocan-born, New York-based artist Lalla Essaydi, whose work is in the Hunter’s collection, combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body in order to explore issues relating to the depiction of Arab women in Western art. Essaydi often returns to her Moroccan girlhood for inspiration in composing her large-scale photographs. With a method she began in 2003, Essaydi covers her models, and sometimes their garments and walls, in layers of hand-painted henna calligraphy, subverting traditional Muslim gender stereotypes through the presence of the written word. Featured in this special exhibition at the Hunter will be a number of photographs from the artist’s various series of the last 15 years.
We invite you to make plans to visit – and bring friends and family – to see all the amazing artwork created by women both past and present during this important anniversary year of women gaining the right to vote.