Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
If you are already a member, log in to access your member price.

How the Ninth Street Women Conquered the Art World

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2210
Select Your Tickets
$30 - Member
$35 - Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...
Powered by Zoom

Tutti Fruitti, 1966, by Helen Frankenthaler

Abstract Expressionists. It was a label applied to the artists behind a revolutionary development in post-World War II American painting. It conjures up images of a rowdy boys’s club where the likes of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, and Franz Kline met in the Cedar Tavern to drink, start fistfights, and trade boasts about their sexual conquests. But a group of female abstract expressionists were also making important contributions to this avant-garde movement.   

After being overshadowed for many decades, they are finally getting their due through a flood of recent books, exhibitions, films, and plays celebrating their accomplishments. Most notable among them were five painters whose work was featured in the groundbreaking Ninth Street Art Exhibition of 1951, in New York’s Greenwich Village. Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler—the so-called “Ninth Street Women”—covered enormous canvases with energetic, slashing brushstrokes, emphasizing the raw and unrestrained process of artistic creation, revealing their own emotions in an abstract, yet powerful, way. 

In this richly illustrated talk, art historian Nancy G. Heller examines these women’s art and lives, their relationships with their male counterparts, and the gender-related obstacles they had to overcome to claim their place in a changing art world.

Heller is professor emerita of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

American Women's History Initiative

This online program is presented on Zoom.