On Sun. May 12, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosted a presentation with the curators of the exhibition “The Feminine Mystique.” Curators Jan Schall and Nicole Myers presented the work by women and art depicting women from the 19th and 20th centuries. The curated works explore the evolving roles of women in society, how women are portrayed by men and how women portray themselves. The exhibition was created in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique.
VOICEOVER: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosted a presentation with the curators of “The Feminine Mystique” on Sun. May 12. The exhibition focuses on women in 19th and 20th century art. Curator Nicole Myers discussed the depictions of women that were selected.
MYERS: The way that it was curated was really to think about this dichotomy of types: the virgin, the femme fatale. To sort of show how women were perceived by artists, presumably male artists, as fitting into these two camps, I think is important.
VO: The exhibition was curated in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique. Myers explained the importance of the connection between art and literature.
MYERS: Any time you have a visual artistic movement, there are going to be movements in music, movements in literature, that are probably responding to the same stimuli and the same influences and impacts that are happening in society and history all at once. I think it’s important, always, when we can, to draw out those connections.
VO: Myers also discussed the distinction between work done by male and female artists, how the interpretations of these works differ and how she hopes female artists will be represented in the future.
MYERS: I think women artists have a hard time, no matter what they represent, getting away from the artwork being interpreted through their gender or through their sexuality. I think what would be ideal is that we come to a time and place where women artists aren’t a category, in and of themselves, and that it’s just the word “artist.”
VO: The exhibition will be on view until Aug. 13. This has been Hannah Swank for Art Addict.