Women's Work is Never Done: Curated by Catherine de Zegher
Private View: November 14 | 6pm
“Catherine de Zegher’s writing and curatorial practice (…) is a monumental achievement. Yet it does not seek monumentality. It shows us how to value everything that disdains monumentality and reveals to us the immense importance of tracing other threads of (…) vital creativity by women who (…) make their contribution as artists to a world in desperate need of their insights, their imaginations, their politics and inscriptions ‘in, of and from the feminine’”.
- Griselda Pollock, Introduction for Women’s Work is Never Done. Collected Essays on Women Artists. An Anthology. (2014).
Richard Saltoun Gallery is honoured to present Women’s Work is Never Done, curated by Catherine de Zegher, internationally acclaimed Belgian curator and art historian, celebrating some of the most important female artists from the Post-war era up to the present-day.
Titled after de Zegher's anthology published in 2014, the exhibition features works by gallery artists BRACHA L. Ettinger, Simryn GILL, Everlyn NICODEMUS and Ria VERHAEGHE, alongside pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Edith Dekyndt, Monika Grzymala, Mona Hatoum, Ann Veronica Janssens, Maria Laet, Anna Maria Maiolino, Erin Manning, Ranjani Shettar, Nancy Spero, Cecilia Vicuña, Judith Wright and others.
Since the early 1990s, de Zegher has been amongst the most influential figures to shape the discourse around a ‘woman’s art practice’, dedicating her career to giving visibility to the work of previously underrepresented female artists including BRACHA, Frida Kahlo, Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Anna Maria Maiolino, Cecilia Vicuna, Martha Rosler, Ellen Gallagher and Julie Mehretu.
Women’s Work Is Never Done spans 3 decades of de Zegher’s curatorial work across 3 gallery spaces, each centred around a distinct concept explored through women artists’ practices: art as a way of subverting political oppression; drawing as an expanded medium and form of relation; and the relationship between art and ecology. The retrospective-exhibition highlights both de Zegher’s essential contributions to art theory, curation, and institutional history, as well as the central threads of concern weaving through her most significant projects from the 1990s until today, such as the feminine principle and the intertwining of self and other, environmentally and socially concerned art.
The first gallery revisits de Zegher’s most famous exhibition, Inside the Visible. An Elliptical Traverse of 20th-Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1996), which travelled to Whitechapel Gallery, London (1996), The Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington (1996), and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (1997). The ground-breaking exhibition put the response to increasing cultural racism and conservatism in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1990s by women artists in historical perspective, and was one of the first museum exhibition explicitly dedicated to women artists. Included will be important works by gallery artist, BRACHA L. Ettinger, as well as Louise Bourgeois, Carol Rama and Anna Maria Maiolino, the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for the the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale de Venezia.
The second gallery is dedicated to the early 2000s and the medium of drawing, which has played a defining role in de Zegher’s career and curatorial research, as the Director of The Drawing Center in New York between 1999-2006. Referencing the large-scale exhibition On Line. Drawing through the Twentieth Century (2010-2011), co-curated by de Zegher at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the display explores how women artists have historically expanded the cross-disciplinary boundaries of drawing, opening up new ways of interpreting and relating to the world and one another. Included will be the works of gallery artist, Everlyn Nicodemus, Cecilia Vicuna, Nancy Spero, and Erin Manning.
Finally, the third gallery space traces de Zegher’s curatorial work to the poignant contemporary discourse around art and eco-feminism, which has been the focus of recent projects such as the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, (2012), the 5th Moscow Biennale, Russia (2013) and the Australian Pavilion with gallery artist, Simryn Gill, at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Gill’s Maria’s Garden series will be on view as a part of this display alongside works by gallery artist Ria Verhaeghe, Ann Veronica Janssens and Edith Dekyndt, among others.
Bringing together a breadth of crucially significant institutional exhibitions over 3 decades under one roof, Women’s Work is Never Done is the first retrospective showcasing the volume, importance, and historic weight of Catherine de Zegher’s trailblazing work, which - as the title suggests - continues to challenge and define the realm of art.
About Catherine de Zegher
Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, Catherine de Zegher was the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Gent (Belgium). In 2020 she retired and founded the International Charity Embrace: Space for Art, Creation, and Regeneration (www.embracespace.org). In 2012, she was the Artistic Director of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, and in 2013 of the 5th Moscow Biennale, Russia. She curated the Australian Pavilion (Simryn Gill) at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and the Belgian Pavilion (Thierry De Cordier) at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997. In the Department of Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, she co-curated with Cornelia Butler the large-scale exhibition On Line. Drawing through the Twentieth Century (2010-2011).
From 2008-2009, de Zegher was the Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Previous to this position, from 1999-2006, she was for many years the Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Drawing Center in New York. Before de Zegher took up her career in North America, she was the co-founder and Director of the Kanaal Art Foundation in Kortrijk, Belgium (1988-1998).
De Zegher is the curator of many acclaimed historical and contemporary exhibitions, such as America: Bride of the Sun. 500 Years of Latin America and the Low Countries (1992) at the Royal Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp, and Inside the Visible. An Elliptical Traverse of Twentieth-Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine (1994-1996) at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Several of her projects and books promote the feminine principle. In the last twenty years, de Zegher has received Best Show awards from AICA and AAMC.
Author and editor of numerous books on modern and contemporary artists, one of her publications is the October Book Women Artists at the Millennium co-edited with Carol Armstrong (MIT Press). In 2014, de Zegher published Women’s Work Is Never Done, an anthology of her collected essays on the work of contemporary women artists. Most recently, in 2020-22, she published a sequel to Inside the Visible, for its 25th Anniversary, in a Dutch mook
(magazine/book) SeeAllThis #20, followed by SeeAllThis #28 about women and the 5 elements (ecofeminism).
Women's Work is Never Done in the press:
Art Shows to see in November 2023 | Dazed
Catherine de Zegher & Griselda PollockInside the Visible and Beyond: In-conversation 15 Nov 2023THE EVENT STARTS AT 6PM. On the occasion of the exhibition Women's Work is Never Done at Richard Saltoun Gallery, brilliant curator and historian of modern and contemporary art, Catherine de Zegher, will be in conversation with Griselda Pollock, renowned feminist art historian. The talk will explore de Zegher’s unique, radical and profound interventions into exhibition-making and artwriting, as well as discuss her ethical commitments to art inspired by and also transforming feminist challenges to the forces that threaten life. The event is titled after de Zegher's famous exhibition Inside...