LA Woman Catalog, Jan 2014


LA Woman: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

by Ruth Weisberg

Artist and Professor, USC Roski School of Fine Arts Director, The USC Initiative for Israeli Arts and Culture

This exhibition marks the first effort to survey the very significant achievements of Los Angeles women artists – yesterday, today and tomorrow. As those of us who have studied art history know, in the past women were prevented from becoming artists by all sorts of prohibitions as well as a lack of access to art education and apprenticeships. A few wives and especially daughters of artists managed to evade these prohibitions – think of Artemisia Gentileschi, daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, in 17th Century Italy. The number of artists increases significantly at the end of the 18th Century when women were encouraged to do still lives but not the far more important “history painting,” and the numbers truly burgeon in the 19th Century. Some impediments remain in the 20th and even 21st Century, but women in great numbers are now artists and, as you will see, some have earned enormous recognition.

The “yesterday” portion of this exhibition presents artists of exceptional stature, all of whom persisted in spite of various challenges. I knew Joyce Treiman, June Wayne and Claire Falkenstein well and they were women of courage, great persistence and extraordinary artistic talent. Time’s passage has allowed us to winnow down to a very accomplished and vivid set of personalities.

Representing the present is more complicated. The cohort is much larger and the time has not yet passed that will allow us to measure artistic contributions at the distance of several decades. Truthfully sometimes very talented artists fall into obscurity, but one still hopes and believes that really significant artistic contributions will survive.

Selecting the women artists of tomorrow is the most daunting of all. I admire curator Joan Adan for conceiving the exhibition in three parts and taking on the future. She certainly has selected a very gifted group of younger artists.

The vitality and variety of aesthetics on view in this exhibition is also proof of the fundamental good health of the Los Angeles art world. And we have become significantly more important globally over the last decade. Los Angeles is now a very important player on the world cultural stage. The positive dynamic of this situation can be assessed by the variety of artistic approaches that thrive here, the global careers launched from Los Angeles, and the diversity and openness of our art scene.

Another major factor is the high concentration of outstanding schools in Southern California. The schools, whether in University settings or as independent art schools, are further supported and reinforced by Southern California’s world role as the producer of images par excellence.

All this tends to support a large active ecology out of which a significant number of women artists can emerge as of greater interest and accomplishment. I am personally staggered by the wonderful and very singular images in this exhibition. We are fortunate indeed to have the opportunity to honor the past, savor the present and anticipate a very bright future.

LA Woman: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Curated by Joan Adan, Museum Director

1712 South Glendale Avenue
Glendale, CA 91205
Tel: 323-340-4921

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 6pm-8pm

Winter Reception & Panel Discussion: Saturday, December 7, 2013, 10am-3:30pm. Panel Discussion at 2pm

Show Runs Aug 16, 2013 – Jan 5, 2014. Gallery Hours: Tue-Sun, 10am – 5pm

Carlota Leading the People by Lili Bernard.   “Another masterpiece by Lili Bernard.” – MAT GLEASON, Coagula Art Journal

Carlota Leading the People by Lili Bernard. “Another masterpiece by Lili Bernard.” – MAT GLEASON, Coagula Art Journal

Featured Artists

Judy Baca
Lili Bernard
Dorr Bothwell *
Judy Chicago
Alice Davis
Ofelia Esparza
Margaret Garcia
Claire Falkenstein*
Ynez Johnston
Suzanne Lacy
Artis Lane
Helen Lundeberg*
Marisa Mandler
Margaret Lazzari
Ann Page
Sonia Romero
Gayle Roski
Betye Saar
Henrietta Shore*
Joyce Treiman*
June Wayne*
Ruth Weisberg
Patty Wickman
Beatrice Wood*

* deceased



LA Woman Flyer 2013