Women in Abstraction / Alice Neel People Come First – Guggenheim Bilbao – Paul Carter Robinson

Guggenheim Bilbao Artlyst

Two exceptional touring exhibitions have converged at the Guggenheim Bilbao, one from the Centre Pompidou titled ‘Women in Abstraction’. The other is a retrospective exhibition of the New York figurative painter Alice Neel titled, ‘People Come First’. Both are worthy of making the pilgrimage to this highly-regarded art hub.

The exhibition is the first global survey of abstract women artists

‘Women in Abstraction’ has been curated by Christine Macel, Chief Curator Centre Pompidou; Karolina Lewandowska, Director of the Museum of Warsaw, in collaboration with Lekha Hileman Waitoller, Curator of the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. The scale of the exhibition is ambitious and it doesn’t disappoint. I am always open to learn about artists who are not the usual suspects. This exhibition catalogues a list of artists who were creating Abstract and Non-Objective art as early as the mid 19th century- an eye-opener.

The exhibition is the first global survey of Abstract women artists, which reaches far beyond Europe and North America, including work created in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, whilst recognising African American and Spanish female artists who have for so long been overlooked.

A number of questions are raised in this comprehensive show, for example, “What exactly is Abstraction?” Other concerns deal with the invisibility of women in movements that seem to have sidelined or written them out of history altogether. Should we isolate “women artists” in a separate history? Or should art be non-gendered? By exposing several of these neglected artists to a new audience, we are given the opportunity to study a whole new timeline for Abstraction.

Highlights include discovering the work of Georgiana Houghton, an English artist working in the 1860s. Her Spiritualist roots influenced a body of work illustrating “sacred symbolism.” Another interesting British artist was the gender-fluid  Marlow” Moss (May 29 1889 – August 23 1958), who studied with Fernand Leger and developed a Constructivist style similar to the De Stijl movement producing both painting and sculpture. Harmony Hammond, still an active maker is one of today’s boldest abstract painters and installation artists. Her work from the 1970s is onview in the exhibition.

The show covers work produced between 1860 and 1980. The curators told us, ‘It is an open-ended timeline’ which will hopefully continue through to the 21st century in the future.

A lavishly illustrated catalogue is available Here

‘Women In Abstraction’ Guggenheim Bilbao October 22, 2021 – February 27, 2022

Alice Neel Artlyst
Alice Neel

Alice Neel ‘People Come First’

Alice Neel (1900–1984) was one of the most inspiring figurative painters of her generation. The curators Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky, have put together this remarkable new exhibition Alice Neel: People Come First, which has travelled from NY’s Metropolitan Museum to the Guggenheim Bilbao.

“When figuration fell out of vogue in New York during the 1940s and 50s and Abstract Expressionism came to dominate, Neel refused to follow trends and change her style even though ‘formal and technical experimentation was always part of her practice.’ She once described Abstract Expressionism as ‘anti-humanist’ continuing to paint portraits of a neglected urban underclass. Neel utilised her abilities as an artist to portray themes of empowerment and strength as well as sacrifice. Her observations of political protest and human suffering see her as both a chronicler and compassionate observer. Neel lived in New York’s Spanish Harlem for over thirty years, where many of her subjects and inspirations originated. Her sitters came from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.

Neel approached nudity and sex in a natural light. She never objectified the human form and the outcome was often vulnerable and moving. She depicted the ‘physical struggles of women, especially impoverished women like herself’.

Alice Neel Guggenheim Bilbao – September 17, 2021–February 6, 2022

Read More

Alice Neel Virtual Tour Visit 

Words/Photos: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2021







Artists Exhibited ‘Women In Abstraction’ Include:

Berenice Abbott 1898, Springfield (Ohio, United States) – 1991, Monson (Maine, United States) Carla Accardi 1924, Trapani (Italy) – 2014, Rome (Italy)

Etel Adnan 1925, Beirut (Lebanon)

Hilma af Klint 1862, Stockholm (Sweden) – 1944, Ösby, Djursholm (Sweden)

Anni Albers 1899, Berlin (Germany) – 1994, Orange (CA, United States)

Laure Albin-Guillot 1879, Paris (France) – 1962, Paris (France)

APY Lands Collaborative APY is the acronym for Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara, a large area of land home to several Aboriginal communities located at the meeting points of three Australian states: South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia. Yaritji Young, Wawiriya Burton, Nyurpaya Kaika, Tjimpayie Presley, Naomi Kantjuriny, Angkaliya Eadie Curtis, Nyunmiti Burton, Tjungkara Ken, Tingila Young, Sylvia Ken, Wipana Jimmy, Mary Pan, Maringka Baker, Alison Milyka Carroll, Carlene Thompson, Mona Mitakiki, Illuwanti Ken, Panjiti Lewis, Tuppy Goodwin, Puna Yanima, Julie Yaltangki, Barbara Moore, Sharon Adamson, Paniny Mick, Betty Muffler, Nellie Coulthardt, Ingrid Treacle, Meredith Treacle, Anyupa Treacle, Madeline Curley, Imatjala Curley, Tjangali George, Elizabeth Dunn, Teresa Baker, Kani Patricia Tunkin.

Gertrud Arndt 1903, Racibórz (Poland) – 2000, Darmstadt (Germany)

Ruth Asawa 1926, Norwalk (CA, United States) – 2013, San Francisco (CA, United States)

Elena Asins 1940, Madrid (Spain) – 2015, Azpirotz (Spain)

Vanessa Bell 1879, London (United Kingdom) – 1961, Charleston Farmhouse, Firle (United Kingdom) Lynda Benglis 1941, Lake Charles (LA, United States)

Lee Bontecou 1931, Providence (RI, United States)

Martha Boto 1925, Buenos Aires (Argentina) – 2004, Paris (France)

Louise Bourgeois 1911, Paris (France) – 2010, New York (NY, United States)

Trisha Brown 1936, Aberdeen (DC, United States) – 2017, San Antonio (TX, United States) Jagoda Buić 1930, Split (Yugoslavia, today Croatia)

Mary Ellen Bute 1906, Houston (TX, United States) – 1983, New York (NY, United States) Marcelle Cahn 1895, Strasbourg (France) – 1981, Neuilly-sur-Seine (France)

Huguette Caland 1931, Beirut (Lebanon) – 2019, Beirut (Lebanon)

Regina Cassolo Bracchi 1894 Mede (Italy) – 1974 Milan (Italy)

Rosemarie Castoro 1939, New York (NY, United States) – 2015, New York (NY, United States) Gianinna Censi 1913, Milan (Italy) – 1995, Voghera (Italy)

Judy Chicago 1939, Chicago (IL, United States)

Lucinda Childs 1940, New York (NY, United States)

Wook kyung Choi 1940, Seoul (Korea) – 1985, Seoul (Korea)

Irene Chou 1924, Shanghai (China) – 2011, Brisbane (Australia)

Saloua Raouda Choucair 1916, Beirut (Lebanon) – 2017, Beirut (Lebanon)

Lygia Clark 1920, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Brazil) – 1988, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Carlotta Corpron 1901, Blue Earth (MN, United States) – 1988, Denton (TX, United States) Parvine Curie 1936, Nancy (France)

Dadamaino (Eduarda Emilia Maino, dit) 1930, Milan (Italy) – 2004, Milan (Italy)

Sonia Delaunay-Terk 1885, Gradizhsk (Ukraine) – 1979, Paris (France)

Germaine Dulac 1882, Amiens (France) – 1942, Paris (France)

Alice Essington Nelson 1846, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (United Kingdom) – 1921, Hove, East Sussex (United Kingdom)

Alexandra Exter 1882, Białystok (Russian Empire) – 1949, Fontenay-aux-Roses (France)

Claire Falkenstein 1908, Coos Bay (OR, United States) – 1997, Venice (CA, United States)

Esther Ferrer 1937, San Sebastian (Spain)

Helen Frankenthaler 1928, New York (NY, United States) – 2011, Darien (CT, United States)

Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn 1881, London (United Kingdom) – 1962, Ascona (Switzerland)

Loïe Fuller 1862, Fullersburg (IL, United States) – 1928, Paris (France)

Gego 1912, Hamburg (Germany) – 1994, Caracas (Venezuela)

Natalia Gontcharova 1881, Nagaevo (Russian Empire) – 1962, Paris (France)

Marcia Hafif 1929, Pomona (CA, United States) – 2018, Laguna Beach (CA, United States) Harmony Hammond 1944, Chicago (IL, United States)

Mary Heilmann 1940, San Francisco (CA, United States)

Florence Henri 1893, New York (NY, United States) – 1982, Compiègne (France)

Barbara Hepworth 1903, Wakefield, Yorkshire (United Kingdom) – 1975, St Ives, Cornwall (United Kingdom)

Carmen Herrera 1915, Havana (Cuba)

Sheila Hicks 1934, Hastings (NE, United States)

Marta Hoepffner 1912, Pirmasens (Germany) – 2000, Lindenberg im Allgäu (Germany)

Georgiana Houghton 1814, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) – 1884 London (United Kingdom) Lotte Jacobi 1896, Toruń (Germain Empire) – 1990, Deering (NH, United States)

Virginia Jaramillo 1939, El Paso, (Texas, United States)

Tess Jaray 1937, Vienna (Austria)

Barbara Kasten 1936, Chicago (IL, United States)

Ilona Keserü 1933, Pécs (Hungary)

Helen Khal 1923, Allentown (PA, United States) – 2009, Ajaltoun (Lebanon)

Katarzyna Kobro 1898, Moscow (Russian Empire) – 1951, Łódź (Poland)

Benita Koch-Otte 1892, Stuttgart (Germany) – 1976, Bielefeld (Germany)

Běla Kolářová 1923, Terezín (Czechoslovakia) – 2010, Prague (Czech Republic)

Elaine de Kooning 1918, New York (NY, United States) – 1989, Southampton (NY, United States)

Lee Krasner 1908, New York (NY, United States) – 1984, New York (NY, United States)

Germaine Krull 1897, Wilda, Poznań (Germain Empire) – 1985, Wetzlar (Federal Republic of Germany) Ida Lansky 1910 Toronto (Canada) – 1997, Dallas (TX, United States)

Bice Lazzari 1900, Venice (Italy) – 1981, Rome (Italy)

Verena Loewensberg 1912, Zurich (Switzerland) – 1986, Zurich (Switzerland)

Barbara Maples 1912, Temple (TX, United States) – 1999, Dallas (TX, United States)

Agnes Martin 1912, Macklin (Canada) – 2004, Taos (NM, United States)

Dóra Maurer 1937 Budapest (Hungary)

Marie Menken 1909 New York (NY, United States) – 1970 New York (NY, United States)

Joan Mitchell 1925, Chicago (Illinois, United States) – 1992, Neuilly-sur-Seine (France)

Nasreen Mohamedi 1937, Karachi (Pakistan) – 1990, Vadodara (NM, India)

Vera Molnár 1924, Budapest (Hungary)

Marlow Moss 1889, London (United Kingdom) – 1958, Penzance, Cornwall (United Kingdom)

Tania Mouraud 1942, Paris (France)

Aurèlia Muñoz 1926, Barcelona (Spain) – 2011, Barcelona (Spain)

Elizabeth Murray 1940, Chicago (IL, United States) – 2007, New York (NY, United States)

Aurelie Nemours 1910, Paris (France) – 2005, Paris (France)

Louise Nevelson 1899, Percaslavie (Ukraine) – 1988, New York (NY, United States)

Vera Pagava 1907, Tbilisi (Georgia) – 1988, Ivry-sur-Seine (France)

Gret Palucca 1902, Munich (Germain Empire) – 1993, Dresde (Germany)

Marta Pan 1923, Budapest (Hungary) – 2008, Paris (France)

Lygia Pape 1927, Nova Frigurgo (Brazil) – 2004, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Alicia Penalba 1913, San Pedro (Argentina) – 1982, Saint-Geours-de-Maremne (France)

Howardena Pindell 1943, Philadelphia (PA, United States)

Liubov Popova 1889, Krasnovidovo (Russian Empire) – 1924, Moscow (USSR)

Bridget Riley 1931, London (United Kingdom)

Dorothea Rockburne 1932, Montreal (Canada)

Olga Rozanova 1882, Melenki (Russian Empire) – 1918, Moscow (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic)

Valentine de Saint-Point 1875, Lyon (France) – 1953, Cairo (Egypt)

Zilia Sánchez 1926, Havana (Cuba)

Helen Saunders 1885, London (United Kingdom) – 1963, London (United Kingdom)

Lillian Schwartz 1927, Cincinnati (OH, United States)

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian 1924, Qazvin (Iran) – 2019, Tehran (Iran) Arpita Singh 1937, Baranagar (India)

Janet Sobel 1893 (Ukraine) – 1968 Plainfield (NJ, United States)

Varvara Stepanova 1894, Kaunas (Russian Empire) – 1958, Moscow (USSR) Hedda Sterne 1910, Bucharest (Romania) – 2011, New York (United States) Gunta Stölzl 1897, Munich (Germain Empire) – 1983, Zurich (Switzerland) Sophie Taeuber-Arp 1889, Davos (Switzerland) – 1943, Zurich (Switzerland) Atsuko Tanaka 1932, Osaka (Japan) – 2005, Nara (Japan)

Lenore Tawney 1907, Lorain (OH, United States) – 2007 New York (NY, United States)

Elsa Thiemann 1910, Thorn-Mocker (Germain Empire) – 1981, Hamburg (Federal Republic of Germany)

Alma Woodsey Thomas 1891, Columbus (GA, United States) – 1978, Washington (DC, United States) Maria Helena Vieira da Silva 1908, Lisbon (Portugal) – 1992, Paris (France)

Fahrelnissa Zeid 1901, Büyükada (Turkey) – 1991, Amman (Jordan)


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