On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark piece of legislation that made access to an abortion a federal right in the United States. This action dismantled fifty years of legal protection for women and control over their reproductive health. This was not a surprise given the dispositions of the current justices, but it is another challenge among the issues of equality and respect, and gender and racial discrimination facing women today.
In solidarity with them, this exhibition features works from the Museum's permanent collection showing women of various ages, backgrounds, and orientations. Their faces and bodies reveal attitudes of confidence, anxiety, poise, and resignation. Paintings and prints of young girls by Hattie Hutchcraft Hill, Fletcher Martin, Alice Neel, and Andy Warhol are seen alongside mature women, including rural and urban subjects photographed by Doris Ulmann and Garry Winogrand. One surprising inclusion is Julien Dupré's beloved canvas, In the Pasture (The Milk Maid), affectionately called "the cow painting" by many visitors. For our purposes, we draw your attention to the struggle of the female farmhand, whose efforts to control the movement of the large dairy cow in her care can be seen as a metaphor of persistence against overwhelming odds.
Along with the art on view, we have solicited opinions, information, and interpretive texts from a range of campus colleagues and community members to create an installation for contemplation and commiseration.
Alex Katz, Red Coat, 1983, color screenprint on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum, purchase: Gaines Challenge Fund.
Exhibition sponsored by VisitLex.