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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

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The Ninth Street Women: Abstract Expressionists Who Made Their Own Mark

Evening Program

Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1H0507
$30 - Member
$45 - Non-Member

"Tutti Fruitti", 1966, by Helen Frankenthaler

Please Note: This program has a rescheduled date (originally May 11, 2020).

The abstract expressionist movement rooted in mid-20th-century New York is often considered the first non-derivative, truly American style of painting. That was good news for a coterie of hard-living, driven men who became its superstars, but it often left highly skilled and talented women artists on the sidelines. Yet their work—as well as the way they defied convention—tells a story of brilliant minds, creative forces, and a group of artists determined to make their marks.

Five of the most significant exhibited in the groundbreaking Ninth Street Art Exhibition of 1951 in New York City, which heralded the emergence of a new postwar avant garde. Lee Krasner and Elaine de Kooning largely put their own careers on hold to support their husbands' success, and yet their art helped convince the public that abstract art was something to notice. Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler attained a degree of fame alongside the men, but often struggled to share the limelight that led to sales.

Art critic and advisor Judy Pomeranz takes an in-depth look at these gutsy women as she examines their lives, the world they inhabited, and of course, their art. They were part of a singular place and time in American art history, and their lives and work are integral to its story.

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

*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

Smithsonian Connections

A 2015 exhibition at the Portrait Gallery celebrated the art of Elaine de Kooning. View a variety of her portraits and learn how she navigated her identities as a celebrated painter’s wife and an independent and influential artist in her own right.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)