With a diverse group of women and non-binary artists working in photography, painting, printmaking, collage, textile, and sculpture, Never Done manifests a multiplicity of women’s experiences, views, and modes of expression.
Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond takes the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment as the occasion for reflection and exploration of the issues and challenges women in the United States have faced, and continue to face, in politics and society.
What has been accomplished in the last 100 years, and what has yet to be accomplished?
The fight for the 19th amendment was achieved through marches, demonstrations, and protest tactics that are still used today. And in the current moment of protest and activism around racism in the United States, Never Done speaks to the role of race and class in shaping women’s participation in politics and the public sphere.
When the 19th amendment—which stated that US citizens could not be denied the right to vote based on their sex—was ratified in 1920, many women were still denied this right. While the federal suffrage amendment prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, it did not address the intersectional discrimination that many American women faced: women from marginalized communities continued to face obstacles because of their race. Native American, Asian American, Latinx, and African American suffragists had to fight for their own enfranchisement long after the 19th Amendment was ratified.
Never Done is intended to be a celebration, a conversation, a critique, and a commemoration of the journey women have taken and have yet to take. Never Done aims to go beyond politics to create conversations about art, gender, race, and intersectional identities. To do so, this exhibition presents artwork by a diverse group of women: Black, brown, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and differently-abled women and non-binary artists; artists working in photography, painting, printmaking, collage, textile, and sculpture; artists from across the United States and from different generations. Moreover, statements from each artist reflect on their work in relation to women’s rights, feminisms, justice and representation, and the legacy of the suffrage movement. Taken together, this project reveals the myriad of different experiences women have and the multiplicity of views and modes of expression that women employ to communicate what is important to them.
—Rachel Seligman and Minita Sanghvi
Starting September 17, online visitors will experience a variety of content including images of 100 artworks by women and non-binary artists along with statements by each artist that reflect on their work in relation to women’s rights, representation, justice, and the legacy of the suffrage movement. Additional online content will include curatorial writing, student reflections, a list of feminist readings and online resources, and more.
When classes began August 24, students, faculty, and curators will use the gallery as a laboratory, working to discuss and envision the exhibition design for Never Done, which visitors will be able to experience when the Museum reopens to the public. With a diverse group of women and non-binary artists working in photography, painting, printmaking, collage, textile, and sculpture, the exhibition manifests a multiplicity of women’s experiences, views, and modes of expression.
As for the word FEMINISM—I didn’t understand feminism until I went to college. In all honesty, I found the movement a bit confusing. As a citizen of the Seneca Nation, I was raised with a matrilineal perspective: women in our community (and by extension, women in the entire Iroquois Confederacy) have always been responsible for passing on our clan lineage and tribal enrollment rights. We are also the custodians of the land. Historically, voting rights were the domain of Clan Mothers, who nominated a tribal leader or chief; however, a Western ballot-style voting system is commonplace these days.
My husband, Adam, jokes that the Seneca language is made up of commands. And part of the humor in that is that those commands are most often coming from our mothers, aunties, and grandmothers, who speak with great authority. For these reasons I believe I come from a long line of proto-feminists. In my house, indigenous feminisms lift up equity and honor the voices, the bodies, the cultural esteem, the intellect, the labor, the economic sovereignty, the safety, the health, the creativity, and the humanity of women and girls. These are human rights, not privileges. My husband is one of my favorite feminists. Feminism is not female-centric. Feminism takes a community.
My interest in the prefix PROTO- emanates from the term proto-feminism, which describes my relationship to feminism. Proto-, the prefix, recalls things that come before, like organisms, epochs, and relationships (ancestral, communal, cosmic). In Companion Species (Saddle), I think of “proto-, proto-, proto-” as a mnemonic device that recalls the past—in my case, indigenous matrilineal proto-feminisms—so that it can lead us into the present and future. A saddle provides support, but it’s also an encumbrance, a weight, and a responsibility. It takes a similar kind of effort to uphold and live the values of feminism, which are highly personal, but also very public. Embodying one’s feminisms looks different on each person, and will look different over time.
I find writing about feminism and feminisms difficult. It’s like a ball of string that I get tangled in. The word feminism is loaded and often misunderstood, and it frequently alienates people who could or should be allies. Feminism is so elastic, and putting words to paper feels so fixed.
—Marie Watt, 2020
Every element of an exhibition—the artworks, lighting, wall color, layout, introductory text, etc.—plays an important role in the experience of audience members and what they take away from it. The Tang Museum often experiments with these elements for educational purposes. In particular, the Tang tries to inspire critical thinking and encourages visitors to use their individual backgrounds and experiences as tools for learning and interpretation. The Tang is not telling visitors what to think, rather, its exhibitions and events are meant to inspire thought, inquiry, and discussion through an interdisciplinary and intersectional lens.
I feel that Never Done truly embodies this central Tang mission. The exhibition is extremely relevant to our 2020 reality. It facilitates celebration, reflection, and discussion on topics such as gender, sexuality, intersectionality, diversity, race, politics, and artistic choice. The fact that the space features a majority of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ artists is particularly important to this presentation of women’s history; it encompasses the myriad of experiences that women, as a diverse yet unified whole, have endured and will continue to face and overcome. Never Done inspired me to reflect on my lived experience as a woman, introduced me to artists whose works embrace intersectionality, and prompted me to think critically about women’s rights in the past, present, and future.
AA 201 “Foundations of Arts Administration” with Professor David Howson
While doing research for this exhibition, we found many rich and valuable digital platforms for organizations, publications, and projects working to amplify feminist voices and promote feminist work. We hope that you will find them to be productive and useful as resources, tools, and inspiration as well.
—Rachel Seligman and Minita Sanghvi
Art+Feminism is an intersectional feminist non-profit organization that directly addresses the information gap about gender, feminism, and the arts on the internet.
This organization seeks to address the multi-dimensional ways Asian/American people confront systems of power at the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability, migration history, citizenship and immigration status, through community building and public and political education.
Bitch Media is a feminist response to pop culture, run by the company that publishes Bitch Magazine.
Black Women Radicals (BWR) is a Black feminist advocacy organization dedicated to uplifting and centering the radical political activism of Black women and gender non-conforming and non-binary people.
CAWP is part of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, and a nationally recognized leader of scholarly research and current data about women’s political participation in the US. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about the role of women in American politics, enhance women's influence in public life, and expand the diversity of women in politics and government.
With the tag line “Where crunk meets conscious and Feminism meets cool” this blog is a site for discussion among the hip hop generation of feminists of color.
With a mission to “Engage. Reflect. Act.” the FAC is a platform for art projects informed by feminisms.
Access and download issues of HERESIES; A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics, published by the New York-based group the Heresies Collective from 1977–1992.
The blog Feministing shut down after 15 years of publishing but the site archives are still available with a critical variety of writings on a broad range of intersectional feminist issues.
Fierce Pussy formed 1991, is an artist/activist collective advancing a radical queer and feminist position through interventions in public spaces with projects and actions that often take place without outside sponsorship, funding, or authorization.
Get Her Elected (GHE) is an initiative where people from all over the world offer their skills pro bono to progressive women candidates running for office at all levels of U.S. government.
This pioneering feminist artist group maintains anonymity in order to focus on the issues. This site documents their history and ongoing activity.
Higher Heights is the political home for Black women and allies to unleash collective organizing power from the voting booth to elected office, to push for a democracy that better reflects and represents Black women.
Mommy is an interview format artblog created by Susan Silas and Chrysanne Stathaocos, focused on women who have been working for 20 years or more as artists.
This is a new podcast from The Getty on Radical Women hosted by Helen Molesworth.
This site is the archive of Rookie Magazine, a publication by and for teenage girls that gives a feminist alternative to traditional teen magazines.
She Should Run is an online community that serves to support and encourage women from all political leanings, ethnicities, sexual identities, and backgrounds to see themselves as future candidates.
She the People brings together a national network of women of color — voters, organizers, movement builders, elected leaders – to transform our democracy through shared values: to love our own and others, to make justice the law of the land, to create a country where everyone belongs, and to make this American democracy live up to its greatest promise.
“WikiProject Women artists” is a WikiProject dedicated to ensuring quality and coverage of women artists and their works in an effort to solve the systemic bias against women artists in Wikipedia.