The Women, Part 1: Daughters of the Revolution: Women and Collage at Pavel Zoubok

It's no secret that women artists are represented at the galleries and museums in far smaller numbers than the other sex, but here I’d like to focus on two current shows in which women are very much in evidence: Daughters of the Revolution: Women and Collage at Pavel Zoubok Gallery and, in a post to follow this one, The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women at Cheim & Read. Feminism lives! Both galleries have assembled impressive group shows with artists whose work spans two waves of Feminism and then some.

In Daughters of the Revolution (the "Pasted Paper Revolution, " Clement Greenberg's essay description of Cubist collage), the always egalitatian Pavel Zoubok shows 34 artists, many from his gallery's own roster, working with collage. The range is impressive, from such early practitoners of the art as Hannah Hoch and Anne Ryan, to Seventies icons Miriam Schapiro, Hannah Wilke and May Wilson, to contemporary artists like Judy Pfaff, Donna Sharratt and Nora Aslan. Sometimes the work is political and sometimes not; mostly it's on an intimate scale, though there are some impressively large works as well.

Above: To the right as you enter, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Chess 1, 2001, photograph and black sandpaper, app. 16 x 16 inches

Ann Ryan (1889-1954), Collage #640, 1953, mixed-media collage [I can see handmade paper], app. 7 x 5 inches. Image from the gallery website

Miriam Schapiro, My Nosegays Are For Captives, 1976, collage and acrylic on canvas, app. 43 x 34 inches, image from the gallery website; my detail below

Hannah Wilke (1940-1993), Kobenhavn, 1975, kneaded erasers and postcard on painted wood panel, 16 x 18 inches, image from the gallery website; my detail below

"This generally intimate art form has historically been more accessible to women, who for many years were excluded from a conventional studio practice; collage was the medium that could be done 'on the kitchen table,'” writes Zoubok in the catalog introduction to a conversation between himself and the painter Melissa Meyer. Meyer, who collaborated with Miriam Schapiro on the 1978 essay Waste Not, Want Not: An Inquiry Into What Women Saved and Assembled—Femmage, underscores the truth of that statement, even among women artists in the 20th Century: "I remember thinking . . . of Lee Krasner getting the kitchen table to work on while Jackson Pollock got the studio."

Daughters of the Revolution: Women and Collage is a big show in a small space. And the installation is a collage in itself. Take a look:

Installation view, from the front of the gallery looking toward the back. The images that follow are on the right-hand wall

India Evans, Into the Selves, 2008, mixed-media collage on paper, 22 x 30 inches; image from the gallery website

Louise Nevelson (1899-1988), Untitled, 1983, mixed-media collage, app. 30 x 20 inches; image from the gallery website

The domestic environment, above and below; both images from the gallery website. Above: Addie Herder, Bruges, 1972-74, collage construction, app. 17 x 20 inches
Below: Louise Erhard, So It's All Come to This, 2008, mixed-media collage on paper, 22 x 30 inches

Another view of the installation wall with three by Judy Pfaff, just to the right of the large works in red (the top work there is Strawberries by Ann Shostrom)

Below: Judy Pfaff, Untitled #33, 2007, ink, found images, acrylic paint, perforated and layered paper, app 14 x 18 inches framed; image from the gallery website

Stepping back and looking over Pavel Zoubok's shoulder to the left back wall, you can just make out a work by Donna Sharrett. It's shown below, along with the rest of the work from that corner

Donna Sharrett, Always, 2006-09, mixed media including rose petals, violin bow string, garnets, dirt and encaustic, 16.5 x 16.5 inches; image from the gallery website. Just to the right of this work are the pieces you see below

Top left: Dodi Wexler, It's Nice to Share Your Home, 2005, mixed media, app. 16 x 28 x 1 inches; Bottom left: Gail Skudera, Veiled Intruder, 1997, mixed-media collage, app. 22 x 20 inches

Center: Nora Aslan, Good Old Games Last Forever, 2008, mixed media collage, 68 x 60 inches; top right, another by Donna Sharrett; bottom right, Miriam Schapiro's My Nosegays are for Captives

Below: Sharrett and Schapiro with Charmion von Wiegand (1896-1893), #154, 1965, mixed-media collage on canvas

In the catalog essay, Zoubok asks Meyer: What do you think has changed with regard to the general attitude toward collage and so-called 'women's work'?

Meyer: My take on the art world in 1978 is that it was not interested in supporting "women's art" and giving women credit for predating anything aesthetically in the canon—but this is now 31 years later, and a lot has changed.

Still, if MoMA put on a collage show whom would it feature? Braque, Cornell, Gris, Picasso, Shwitters, Samaras, Rauschenberg and Rotella, I'd wager. Sons of the Establishment. So Daughters of the Revolution is not only a great exhibition, it's a historically important exhibition. A catalog is available at the gallery ($10) or by mail ($12). Contact the gallery for mail-order specifics.

Daughters of the Revolution: Women and Collage at Pavel Zoubok, at 533 W. 23rd Street, is up through August 14. Summer hours (Mon-Fri) are in effect.

(Next Wednesday, August 6, I'll post Part 2: The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women at Cheim & Read.)



Anonymous said...

Zoubok is fantastic! No other gallery has a greater curatorial mission. I don't think Pavel has the potential to produce a bad show... it's a shame he doesn't have a larger space to really showcase all that he does.

(Zoubok =T op 5 NYC gallery!!!)


Stephanie Sachs said...

After you post a show I try to go to the gallery website to learn more about the artists in the gallery. Zoubok was by far one of the easiest to navigate sites. Wish they were all this good.

Joanne Mattera said...

Delucci says: "It's a shame he doesn't have a larger space."

You know what they say: It's the motion of the ocean, not the size of the wave.

Eva said...

I lust after that gallery!

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Regardless, there is definitely some serious motion in that gallery!


peggy said...

I'll echo all that's been said about the art and gallery in this post. I would also like to add a sincere thank you, Joanne, for bringing an always interesting and often enlightening array of art works to those of us who can only dream of seeing them first hand.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you. I am heartened and inspired.

jami said...

wonderful coverage! thanks for the post.

Annie B said...

Not being a NYer it's doubtful I'll see this exhibit in real life, so thank you so much for the glimpse of it here. I was especially delighted to see the piece by Anne Ryan. I discovered her a couple of years ago at the IFPDA Print Fair (Susan Teller Gallery featured women printmakers) and I loved Ryan's prints.