This exhibition celebrates women artists in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art. Inspired by Yale University’s celebration of fifty years of coeducation in Yale college and 150 years of coeducation in Yale graduate programs, Art in Focus: Women From the Center highlights women artists whose inventive art practices have enabled them to stake out space in the art world. The title for this exhibition references both the use of the collection of the Yale Center for British Art and Lucy Lippard’s influential collection of feminist essays, From the Center (1976).
The artists featured here span the nineteenth century to the present day and work across a broad spectrum of media, style, and technique. The display is composed of four different themes: “Women and Institutions” looks at artists who challenge bodies of knowledge and control that have historically marginalized or oppressed women. “Space and Place” showcases women artists who reimagine urban and pastoral environments and imprint their own subjectivity on these spaces. “Women as Muses” challenges traditional understandings of artist and muse—namely that of an active male artist and a passive female muse—for on this wall women play both roles. Finally, “Beyond the Figure” examines the role that women have played in breaking free from the politics of figuration.
Art in Focus is an annual initiative by members of the Center’s Student Guide Program, providing Yale undergraduates with curatorial experience and an introduction to all aspects of exhibition practice. The student curators for this exhibition include Emma Gray, SY ’21; Sunnie Liu, JE ’21; Annie Roberts, SY ’21; Christina Robertson, SM ’22; and Olivia Thomas, MC ’20. The students have been led by Linda Friedlaender, Head of Education; Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye, Educator, School and Community Outreach and Access Programs; and Rachel Stratton, Postdoctoral Research Associate. The exhibition and accompanying booklet are generously supported by the Marlene Burston Fund and the Dr. Carolyn M. Kaelin Memorial Fund.