Artists 1011 and Capucine Bourcart in the exhibition Nebula.Protologo, Language Shifting Through Time and Space at Revolú Gallery by Allicette Torres

Artists 1011 and Capucine Bourcart in the exhibition Nebula.Protologo, Language Shifting Through Time and Space at Revolú Gallery by Allicette Torres

Artists 1011 and Capucine Bourcart in the exhibition Nebula.Protologo, Language Shifting Through Time and Space at Revolú Gallery

by Allicette Torres

The Revolution

Covid-19, since its onset, has led to an accelerated rate of change and innovation in the art world. With new currents in our ever-morphing artistic silos, I’ve decided to create a different art gallery space. It needed to be malleable to the present day—which is situated around the online, virtual, 3D sphere––while also allowing in person, on the street, pop-up variations of such. I have received some pushback as to why a digital space is needed for art, when we strive for a visceral visual or tactile experience within art. I hate to break it to some, but nobody is looking for us as female artists. And indeed, no one is coming to save us except us. Technology can offer a level playing field and affords us to innovate and have the same agility as our male counterparts.

The first exhibition by Revolú Gallery will serve as innovative and will pave the way for future artists. It’s a custom space built from the ground up (not a 3rd party service) with new technologies with real-time 3D rendering within a browser with interactive web walkthroughs. It will reside on our Revolú website, but in the future, it can also exist in other digital platforms, other 3D environments with visual headsets, and even the Metaverse.

As curators and artists, it should be our primary endeavor to figure out how to make modern tools suit us. The world is a different place than only five years ago; we can use many mechanisms to begin a worldwide conversation about art, propagate the knowledge about diverse artists, and cross international borders all within the parameters of the modern-day. Along with all of this, it must be said: technology isn’t what makes the work suitable. It can’t create or make up for things that may be lacking there. Some mediums aren’t suited for all technologies; however, the point is to make the tool––in this instance, technology––bend to the art. Men dominate technology and the art market, and this needs to come to a halt. Though it can only happen if you decide to participate as an artist or patron. Part of the Revolú gallery’s ethos is “for women, by women.”

There are no women in the top 0.03% of the auction market, where 41% of the profit is concentrated. Overall, 96% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists (Bocart et al.). A recent survey of the permanent collections of 18 prominent U.S. art museums found that the represented artists are 87% male and 85% white (Public Library of Science).

Just 11% of all acquisitions and 14% of exhibitions at 26 prominent U.S. museums over the past decade were of work by female artists. “Museums Claim They’re Paying More Attention to Female Artists. That’s an Illusion,” artnet News.

And I can drown you in more citations about women’s disparity to men in the artist, but why should I need to? We can sit in meetings, Zoom calls, or coffee room small talk and drone on about always being behind the eight ball, or we can use the propulsion of the start of the 21st century to turn everything on its ear. Women made great strides at the beginning of the last century, and it’s our job to do the same.

But What About the Exhibition?

Letters, characters, and logograms are visual artifacts that are powerful, palpable, yet invisible carriers of cultural knowledge through time. This 3D virtual reality exhibition intends to feature a broad stroke of artists and their work while discussing the many possibilities within the boundless confines of language and the authority of words in the present day. Two particularly highlighted fiber artists, both French, from this exhibition are 1011 and Capucine Bourcart. They share in creating tiered storytelling through textiles, found objects, and other ephemera within their bodies of work. They carry on with the idea of woman’s work. The manual labor of “craftwork” and elevate it into its proper pedestal as one of the storied first art forms of humankind as far back as 30,000 BCE as documented by Elizabeth J. Wayland Barber, a published specialist in prehistoric textiles.

“Along with cave paintings, threads were among the earliest transmitters of meaning.”
-Anni Albers, ‘On Weaving’

Both artists in the show have produced works that hit on the intersectionality of memory, womanhood, ritual, the organic, nature, and the birth of language itself. They defy the preconceived notions of words, language, typography, and the essence of communication. Artwork can become “high art” when it exists outside of the practical form. However, one of the seminal acts for art is to coalesce emotions and the human condition to translate, understand, and process culture. Both artists guide us into inner reflective spaces about human fallibility and how we navigate these paths.

1101 Installation View Lettres Mortes

In one of the installations featured, Lettres Mortes, artist 1011 recreates a series of hand-stitched photos of a letter initially made by a young Polish girl––Marie Jelen––who lived in Paris while it was occupied during World War II. Marie originally disguised her embroidery so that her letters would go unnoticed within the fabric itself. Her family was scattered because of the Statute of the Jews and the Aryanization measures during World War II by Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, her letters never reached their destination as she was gassed in Auschwitz on September 23, 1942, only a few days before her eleventh birthday. The found letters came to light from a series of four images taken secretly by a Sonderkommandos (a group of Jewish prisoners forced to perform various duties in the gas chambers and crematoria of the Nazi camp system) from inside a gas chamber in crematorium V at Birkenau in Auschwitz. The film was brought back to the central camp from Auschwitz in a tube of toothpaste where an employee in the SS canteen had hidden it. On September 4, 1944, it reached the Polish resistance in Krakow.

The Artist 1011’s embroidery is a strict reproduction of Marie’s handwriting with hesitations or errors in the spelling. The embroidery is done in black and white, tone on tone, so that the text can escape those who would not take the time to detect it.

Capucine Bourcarts’ series, Asemic Writings, journey is one of revisionist history, one to empower the voice of women. She created a book, a dictionary, words, language, and an entire universe. She is undoing the Christendom narrative, where Adam was the one who named all things in the Garden of Eden. Capucine’s sacred texts transformed discarded materials to actual 24 Karat gold. She leaves you with the questions of which materials are the holiest and the humblest. She tethers a new mystic vocabulary for those who might not have one. Who dares to open Pandora’s box of typography and secrets?

Besides the artists 1011 and Capucine Bourcart, the exhibition features artists Luana Y. Ferreira, Ph.D., Keith Josiah, Tuomas A. Laitinen, Edgar Moza, and Mario Tauchi. Thomas Ruple is the Assistant Curator.

Nebula.Protologo, Language Shifting Through Time and Space, runs from March 11th to August 12th, 2022, and is part of the wrong biennale, a global online experience.

About the Curator Allicette Torres

Allicette Torres

Allicette has been a member of the WCA since 2007 and International Chair since 2020. She is a Puerto Rican curator, arts writer, and visual artist for over 20 years. She’s undertaken curatorial projects since 2009. With her show Evidence of Things Not Seen in 2019 and artists lecture series, she tackled the invisibility of Latino artists in the arts, specifically the bluechip market in New York City. Another pivotal show was False Idols: Perspectives on Latina/Hispanic/Chicana women, an exhibition inspired by Latina identity misconceptions and truths.

About Revolú Gallery

Revolú is a newly founded art gallery in 2022 and at the forefront of utilizing new technologies such as 3D, new mediums, and innovative presentation methods to further art and artists globally. We are interested in bridging the gap for further conversations about personal, political, abstract, nascent, or experimental ideas. We are not afraid of what comes next.

IG @RevoluGallery

Capucine Bourcart
WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews: Margo Hobbs

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews: Margo Hobbs

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews:

Margo Hobbs

Margo Hobbs, Ph.D.
WCA President, 2018- 2020

Margo Hobbs

I am pleased and honored to present feminist art historian Margo Hobbs, who served as president of WCA from 2018 to 2020. Dr. Hobbs initiated and organized the Art Writers Committee, which is how I met her and experienced her exemplary leadership. This interview is part of the WCA Leadership Project in celebration of the organization’s fiftieth anniversary, one of the initiatives of the Art Writers Committee, and part of her WCA legacy. In our conversation Dr. Hobbs shares her memories and experiences about her career and WCA.

Dr. Hobbs is Art Department Chair and Professor of Art and Art History at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. She teaches courses in modern and contemporary art, women and art, and African American art. Prior to teaching at Muhlenberg, she taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Bucknell University, the University of Notre Dame, Illinois State University, and the University of Vermont. Dr. Hobbs earned her B.A., at St. John’s College, an M.A., from School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her Ph.D., from Northwestern University. Her research focuses on feminist art and artists of the 1970s and 1980s, with a particular interest in representing identity in photography. She has also written about graffiti art and public sculpture.

The Interview

MKM: Were you always interested in art?

MH: I was always interested in art, but I realized early on that I didn’t have the discipline needed to really master a medium and work independently. I was interested in talking to my artist friends about their process, and I thought working in a gallery would be fun. (When I was in college, the ambitious young art dealer Mary Boone was on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Magazine. My roommate and I decided we wanted to be her.) After college, I moved to Santa Fe and found a job as the registrar of a gallery selling sophisticated paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by local artists. I loved the small city art scene but after a few years I wanted more intellectual stimulation. I decided to pursue an MA in modern art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Working as a TA for the art history faculty, I discovered that I enjoyed teaching along with the research and writing, and so I applied to Northwestern to pursue a Ph.D. to become a college professor.

MKM: Do you have any memorable teachers, mentors, role models?

MH: Artist Tee A. Corinne took me under her wing early in the process of researching my dissertation on vaginal imagery in 1970s feminist art. She was the author of The Cunt Coloring Book—published in 1975 and still in print—which was a key work for my analysis. We met on the Feminist Art History listserv and she graciously shared her own archives, talked through my ideas with me, and connected me with other lesbian feminist artists whose work I would discuss—she knew everyone. I remember her introducing me around at a reception for the CAA Queer Caucus, “This is Margo, who I believe is heterosexual…” Her seal of approval was crucial for me to make connections with artists whose work was barely archived, much less the subject of much scholarship in the mid-1990s—such as Harmony Hammond. After completing my dissertation, I published an article on Tee’s graphics made for lesbian feminist ‘zines in GLQ: The Gay and Lesbian Quarterly which pleased her. And she was the impetus for my recent research on the feminist photography annual The Blatant Image (1981-1983), which originated in the feminist photography “ovulars” which were held on women’s land in Southern Oregon where she lived.

MKM: How has your work changed over time?

MH: My work has changed over time in two important ways: I have embraced my identity as a queer woman and consequently my research feels more personal, and I have learned from the examples of other queer art historians to have more confidence in my scholarly pursuits.

It might seem odd that a straight woman would take up the topic of vaginal imagery for her dissertation topic. One of the faculty on my dissertation committee, responding to my thesis proposal, scoffed that to study 1970s feminist art without taking up so-called “central core” imagery “was just pussy-footing around” (“so to speak,” said my advisor). I took his advice, and developed a thesis that the act of looking at vaginal imagery destabilized a straight female viewer’s identity in a performative sense. Little did I know. A little more than 10 years after finishing my thesis, I fell in love with a woman, realized I had been yearning for that experience my whole life, and never looked back. My desire to make visible artists working at the intersection of feminist and queer art feels urgent and deeply satisfying.

In the midst of that existential crisis of sexual awakening, I began to work on an article on The Blatant Image and the representations of lesbian identity scattered through its pages. I think the draft I sent the editors, Christopher Reed and Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, was a mess of half-baked, theory-driven analysis. They tactfully focused my thesis, offered more nuanced reads of the images, and suggested cuts. From Chris, I learned to think about archives as places where ideas could germinate, not as repositories of illustrations for preconceived notions. From Jongwoo, I was encouraged to think more queerly and creatively as I formulate ideas, to resist fixing meanings.

MKM: What work do you most enjoying doing – teaching or writing?

MH: As much as I enjoy researching and writing, I earned my degree in order to teach and I’m passionate about that. I want to share my conviction that works of art are inexhaustible. In talking about an artwork, you necessarily limit yourself by attending to certain issues or questions while excluding others. Words and visual expression are incommensurable—otherwise artists would just explain their ideas. I want my students to get excited about what art can do aesthetically, culturally, politically. I want them to be able to mine the past for creative solutions to persistent problems, to find themselves in historical works. Over time, I’ve become less invested in imparting art historical knowledge to students and more interested in teaching them the skills to find information, analyze visual evidence, and generate their own ideas.

Margo Hobb’s art historical research on display in a recent exhibition of faculty work at Muhlenberg College

MKM: I think the talent and skills that make you a successful teacher also made you a great leader. For you, what was the most important thing you accomplished as WCA president?

MH: The most important thing I accomplished was after my term as president, when I reached out to all the self-identifying art writers in the member directory and organized the Art Writers Committee. I didn’t have a particular agenda in mind beyond figuring out how to make the organization more relevant for people like me—feminist art historians working in the academy. To be honest, I’m not sure that WCA is my best fit as an academic and the faculty members of the AWC have participated less over time. But the group has accomplished a compelling reboot of the WCA blog, Art Insights, a transformation in process of the WCA publication Art Lines, and the WCA Leadership Interview Project for our 50th anniversary. My part in this has been to convene regular meetings, facilitate constructive discussion, identify initiatives and steps toward accomplishing them, and stay out of the way. Moving forward, I believe that the AWC will be the place where members engage with important developments in the contemporary art world while maintaining a commitment to highlighting women’s voices.

MKM: Art is the focus of your professional life, at home do you maintain any collections or live with other artists’ artwork?

MH: When I worked at the gallery in Santa Fe, I did a quick favor for one of the artists we represented, and in return she gifted me a small monoprint of hers. Several artists graciously allowed me to choose a small work from their solo exhibitions at the gallery, and some works I purchased over time from my employer with deductions from my small paycheck. These gifts and purchases from artist friends are precious reminders of that time in my life when I was beginning to find my way. Working as a professor in various art departments, I’ve acquired works from my brilliantly talented colleagues and students. And during my time on the WCA Board, I’ve added to my collection works by artists whom I admire tremendously—Linda Stein, Margaret Parker, Rosalind Bloom. Nothing makes me happier than looking at the art in my home and thinking about the connections I have with the people who created it.

To learn more about Margo Hobbs and Art History at Muhlenberg, visit:

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews: Barbara Wolanin

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews: Barbara Wolanin

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews:

Barbara Wolanin

Dr. Barbara Wolanin shares her experiences as a leader in the Women’s Caucus for Art. She was interviewed by Patti Jordan for the WCA Leadership Interview Project on WCA’s 50th Anniversary.

An Interview with Barbara Wolanin

By Patti Jordan

Dr. Barbara Wolanin joined the Women’s Caucus for Art back in 1978, only a few years after its founding in 1972. Since then, she has been quite active in WCA’s Washington DC chapter and has served on WCA’s National board as Southeast Regional Vice President. She was also Vice President for Chapter Relations from 1998 to 2010 and President of WCA’s DC chapter from 1998 to 2001.

Dr. Wolanin held the distinguished position of Curator for the Architect of the Capitol and Congress from 1985 to 2015 and is now Curator Emerita. In this role, she oversaw the conservation of this vast collection of murals, sculpture, paintings, research and education, archives, and exhibitions. Dr. Wolanin holds a Bachelor’s in Studio Art and a Master’s in Art History from Oberlin College, an MAT in Art Education from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a Kress Fellow from University Wisconsin-Madison, and a Smithsonian Fellow. Dr. Wolanin also lists as a noteworthy curator and art historian by Marquis Who’s Who. Additionally, she prepared a book for the Congress on the muralist for the US Capitol, Constantino Brumidi.

Barbara Wolanin interviewed by Patti Jordan – 2 Minute Segment
Barbara Wolanin interviewed by Patti Jordan – Full Interview

For more information about Barbara Wolanin’s career please visit:

For more information about author Patti Jordan please visit:

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews: Ann Sutherland Harris

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews: Ann Sutherland Harris

WCA 50th Anniversary Interviews:

Ann Sutherland Harris

Ann Sutherland Harris

Art History and Activism

In the months ahead my blog posts will feature interviews with past leaders of Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) in celebration of the WCA 50th Anniversary. The interviews are part of a project of the WCA Art Writer’s Committee, which produces Artlines and the WCA website blog Art Insights. WCA leadership will also be recognized at our February 2022 conference in Chicago: Occupy the Moment: Embracing our History, Enhancing our Impact.

It is fitting that my first interview in this series is with Ann Sutherland Harris – she was the first president of the Women’s Caucus for Art and a founding member. Ann is a scholar, curator, author and activist. Using FaceTime for conversation and email correspondence, I was able to interview Ann as she shared some significant memories from her life about becoming a feminist art historian. It was an honor to have this opportunity and I want to express my sincere appreciation to her for her time and participation in this WCA Anniversary project.

Over the course of her career, Ann has written nine books and exhibition catalogues, more than a hundred articles and reviews, and participated in dozens of lectures and panels. As an educator for almost five decades, she taught at Columbia University; Hunter College, CUNY; and State University of New York, Albany, before joining the University of Pittsburgh as a full professor in 1984; she retired in 2012. Her awards include fellowships and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the National Endowment of the Humanities; the National Endowment for Art; and the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art. Ann is a WCA Lifetime Achievement Awardee (2005), the recipient of honorary doctorates, as well as Mademoiselle Magazine Woman of the Year (with Linda Nochlin, 1977) and Pittsburgh YWCA Woman of the Year in the Arts (1986).

17th century European painting and sculpture are Ann’s main scholarly focus, especially Italian paintings and drawings, although her research, teaching and curatorial projects have included other subjects and time periods. Ann earned her BA at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, graduating with first class honors in 1961, as well as her Ph.D. in 1965. Andrea Sacchi was the subject of her dissertation; her 1977 monograph on Sacchi is considered one the best studies of that 17th century painter. Ann has also published documents about, and identified drawings by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the Carracci, Pier Francesco Mola and Pietro Testa, among others. Her book, Seventeenth-Century Art and Architecture (London: Laurence King), 2005; 2nd ed., 2008, was a highly regarded survey of the seicento, but is now out of print. Ann is currently working on a monograph of all the drawings of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which she hopes to finish next year.

Ann says that she “has always believed that the study of any artist should include their drawings. When such studies survive and can be connected with known paintings, they reveal not only the artists’ preliminary ideas, but also changes made either to please patrons or satisfy the artist.” To her “an unidentified 17th century drawing is an orphan seeking a home under the right name.” She even owns a few such orphans herself that she still hopes to identify.

I first became familiar with the name Ann Sutherland Harris in graduate school during a course devoted to women artists – her trailblazing work was the foundation for our class. In 1976-77 Ann organized the groundbreaking exhibition Women Artists, 1550-1950, co-curated with Linda Nochlin, which presented the work of eighty three women artists from twelve countries. The show traveled across the United States from Los Angeles and Austin to Pittsburgh and Brooklyn, bringing wide public attention to women artists and gender issues that had been previously left out of the discourse of art history. The exhibition and the 367-page catalogue (I have one on my shelf!) changed art history. Today that mission of equality and inclusion is supported by many art historians, as the work for and about women artists is not yet finished. And Ann herself has continued to write about women artists past and present, such as Artemisia Gentileschi and Alice Neel.

Ann Sutherland Harris, 1983

Ann Sutherland Harris was born on Nov. 4, 1937, in Cambridge, UK. Her Scottish father, Sir Gordon B. B. M. Sutherland, was an accomplished physicist. A fellow of Pembroke College and Master of Emmanuel, Cambridge, his research focused on spectroscopy. Her Swedish mother, Gunborg Wahlström (Lady Sutherland), met her father when she came to Cambridge to work as a baby nurse for a Swedish woman married to a colleague of her father. Ann says her mother was a great cook, made beautiful clothes for her daughters, and could fix anything in the house. Education was important to both of her parents.

When asked I asked how she first became interested in art, Ann explained: “I was made aware of painting as a career very early because my Swedish grandfather, Filip Wahlström, was an artist. He painted many portraits and views of the city of Göteborg (Gothenburg) and other places in Sweden. My sisters and I stayed with them twice for the summer months and I saw his studio, works in process, and finished works in their house that had walls painted yellow and other colors I had never seen indoors before! On the last visit before we went to America, I climbed up on the rocks overlooking the entrance to the harbor and made a painting of the view. I remember adding touches of yellow here and there at the end, and when I showed it to the grown-ups, they praised my technique. I thought the word must mean using yellow!”

Ann and her family lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan during part of her youth; she attended Wellesley College as a freshman. It was at Wellesley that she took her first art history class and fell in love with the subject. After her first year of college, her family returned to the UK and Ann enrolled at The Courtauld Institute – the rest is (art) history… and an autobiography that I hope Ann will someday write!

An Interview with Ann Sutherland Harris

Ann Sutherland Harris, October 2021

MKM: What motivates your work as an art historian?

ASH: Nothing motivates me more than seeing a fine artist’s name being attached to works that are not by them. I believe it is my job to protect the reputation of the artists on whom I have published monographs or substantial articles. I have written complete or partial biographies of several Italian artists – Andrea Sacchi, Andrea Camassei, Pietro Testa, Pier Francesco Mola – none familiar names to the general public. A mistaken attribution may be below the level of quality of an artist whose work I know well: sometimes it may be a good work, but not by this hand. These attributions come from owners of drawings with ambitious attributions written on them (most artists in my period did not sign their drawings), or hopeful attributions written on the back of the canvas [and do have a chance sometimes], or are on the painting itself. Even these are sometimes added afterwards, and are not common on Italian seicento (17th century) paintings, though they are often found on Dutch painters’ works. I always study artists’ drawings as well as their paintings or sculptures, when possible, as they allow us to see them thinking through the process from start to finish. My role as a biographer of an artist is to identify and document as many of their works as possible and to describe the techniques, stylistic habits, mannerisms, color preferences, typical types of figures, etc. so that others can recognize this artist’s work when an unknown example emerges from attics or museum storage. For example, Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1654) is much in the news now because many museums and collectors would like to have a work by her. The only complete study of her work was published in 1999 (by R. Ward Bissell), but new attributions keep emerging. Bissell listed 108 works by her recorded in old inventories that cannot be matched to works known today. Everyone agrees that many of these “new” works are probably not by her but there is rarely unanimous agreement about the most plausible candidates. I find this all fascinating! I also believe that it is important not to clutter up her production with paintings that fall short of her well-established levels of quality.

MKM: Is there a piece of research or writing that you are most proud of?

ASH: Yes – my survey of 17th century art and architecture in Italy, Spain, France, Holland and England. The only books available for my students covered both the 17th (Baroque) and 18th (Rococo) centuries but that meant very thin coverage of the many wonderful painters, sculptors and architects who transformed European art in the 1600 hundreds. I decided to study 17th century Italian art rather than any period of the Renaissance when I was a student at the Courtauld Institute because the centuries 1300 – 1600 had already been studied by scholars since the nineteen twenties. This was not true of the 17th century where many excellent artists had never been the subject of a monograph (art historian’s term for a biography).

Ann Sutherland Harris,
Seventeenth-Century Art and Architecture (London: Laurence King), 2005; 2nd ed., 2008.

MKM: Outside of art history, what are some works of art from literature, music, or film, that are important to you?

ASH: I love good movies, and classical music, especially J. S. Bach [I am a mediocre pianist], and chamber music rather than symphonies. I used to read a novel or two in the summer. Now I am more likely to read autobiographies. I also have a garden to care for which is both rewarding and frustrating.

MKM: In addition to your work as a scholar, you have curated several exhibitions. Can you please tell us about your most memorable experience from curating the ground-breaking exhibition, Women Artists: 1550-1950?

ASH: Where to begin?! The opening at the Brooklyn Museum in 1977 was amazing – huge crowds, and I arrived in a limousine with Philippe de Montebello, then the Director of the Metropolitan Museum, where I had a job for a while. The opening in LA was much quieter but attendance soon grew to records. Memorable too were some of the responses from curators to whom we wrote to ask for loans . . . “Why do you want to show so many women’s works together? Do you think they’ll all look alike?”

Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin, Women Artists 1550-1950 (Los Angeles: Museum Associates of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977), reprinted four times; sixth printing, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, April 1984).

MKM: If you were organizing/curating an exhibition today, which artists (living or dead) would you like to show?

ASH: I think that Diane Samuels, an artist who lives in Pittsburgh, ought to be far better known. She has done some wonderful installations – one for Brown [University] in Providence, RI (a covered glass bridge between science buildings with quotes from scientists of the past, many suggested by students). Occasionally I have thought that an exhibition of artists’ portraits of their parents would be an unusual but revelatory. Alice Neel’s moving paintings of her mother would be in it but I recall seeing other examples that seemed among the best works by the artist in question . . . I should have taken notes!

MKM: Along with your work as a scholar and curator, you are celebrated for your feminist activisim. Over the course of your career, you served on several university committees concerned with the status of women, in 1970 you testified before the U.S. Congress Special House Subcommittee on Education in support of women’s equal rights in higher education, and you advised the establishment of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. You have been a champion of women on many occasions and in many ways. What strategy do you think best enables the women’s movement to continue to break down white male hegemony? Are there particular genres that you find are best suited for this task – such as the visual arts, performance, social activism, or writing?

ASH: They are all good . . . every time a woman does something amazing like getting a Nobel prize and it gets press coverage, it’s good for all women, especially in male-dominated professions.

Wherever we see an obvious discrimination against having women in positions of power or influence etc., we should speak up and at least point out the problem. I once threatened to come up on the stage and give the commencement address myself at a meeting of women concerned with women’s situations at Pitt – available childcare etc. Well, goodness me, the next graduation had a woman give the address! But not since, I think. The situation for women in higher education has changed enormously to our benefit since I and some other women made a fuss in 1958 (Columbia Women’s Liberation, we called our small group . . .) but salary differences persist, and of course those of us in the “humanities”, popular with women, earn a lot less than scientists, who are usually male. I also think that the focus on the situation of people of color in education at all levels is more deserving of focus and change now. This involves both sexes, obviously.

(left to right) Muriel Magenta, Linda Nochlin and Ann Sutherland Harris, c. 1980s

MKM: What are the specific spaces, be they academic, political, or otherwise, you deem imperative for us at this pivotal moment in history to occupy – to be agents of lasting change?

ASH: We always need to be alert and remember that now many – maybe most men – are feminists. My son spends as much time being a great father to his two daughters, and to cooking etc. as my daughter-in-law does. His father certainly didn’t! Still, it seems impossible for a woman to become President . . . I’d love to see Elizabeth Warren as President . . . but is this country ready for her?

MKM: Can you share a seminal experience of feminist activism?

ASH: Many . . . during the 1958 riots when students took over some of the dorms and classes were cancelled at Columbia, where I was an Assistant Professor, I was outside in the large plaza in front of the campus buildings and was standing near a cop in full masculine regalia on his motorcycle. “You work here?” he asked. I said yes. “You a professor? I said yes. Married?” I said yes. “I bet you have a lot of fights!” he said. I don’t think I responded but meeting me even briefly may have given him something to think about . . .

MKM: What would you like to impart to feminist art historians and artists today? What do you hope future generations will achieve? What should they know?

ASH: I really think that women have made so much progress compared with the world I knew in the nineteen sixties that I cannot think of anything. Women do not dominate the world of politics, but even here women like Nancy Pelosi and Stacey Abrams in Georgia are impressive political leaders in very challenging situations.

MKM: What did/do you most appreciate and enjoy as a member of WCA?

ASH: I love our awards ceremonies – so much fun and… moving.

MKM: What do you envision for the WCA community today, and in another 50 years?

ASH: No idea! I guess the WCA will go on as long as this national organization can link women artists with shared interests and goals, and a mutual interest in making sure our best artists get attention…

MKM: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

ASH: I tend to offer advice to others far too often so I often have to tell myself to shut up!

Ann with her granddaughters, 2021

Ann Sutherland Harris’ review of Artemisia will be published in the Fall/Winter issue of Women’s Art Journal. To read the latest from Ann and learn more please visit: