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Baltimore Museum of Art Is Dedicating a Year of Programming to Female Artists

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A 2010 artwork titled “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires” by Mickalene Thomas, whose work will be part of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s year-long initiative celebrating female artists

Courtesy of © Mickalene Thomas and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York 

A 2010 artwork titled “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires” by Mickalene Thomas, whose work will be part of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s year-long initiative celebrating female artists

The initiative, called “2020 Vision,” is part of the museum’s efforts to expand its presentations of women artists and artists of color.

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In August 1920, the historic passing of the 19th Amendment guaranteed women in the United States the right to vote. To mark the upcoming centennial of women’s suffrage, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced it will dedicate a year of exhibitions to the works of female-identifying artists.

Beginning this fall, the museum will host 13 solo exhibitions and seven thematic shows highlighting women’s contributions to art history as part of its 2020 Vision initiative. The year-long program kicks off on October 6, 2019, with By Their Creative Force: American Women Modernists, which focuses on female artists who influenced major 20th-century movements—among them Georgia O’Keeffe, Maria Martinez, and Amalie Rothschild. (The exhibition is on view through July 5, 2020.) Shortly after, a site-specific installation will transform BMA’s two-story East Lobby into a living room using wallpapers and furnishings by Mickalene Thomas (a visual artist best known for her paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel).

Initiative highlights throughout the year will include a summer 2020 exhibition of American Indian beadworks that incorporate patriotic iconography made by 19th-century Lakota women, a showcase under the working title Women Behaving Badly that examines visual representations of female power and protest in European and American art (also summer 2020), and a September retrospective of works by artist Joan Mitchell, sourced from both public and private collections.

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The initiative is part of the institution’s ongoing plan to address race and diversity gaps in the museum field. “The BMA’s 2020 Vision initiative serves to recognize the voices, narratives, and creative innovations of a range of extraordinarily talented women artists,” museum director Christopher Bedford said in a statement. 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.”

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Baltimore

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