American Folk Art Museum Logo

Women's Studies

January 24, 2013–May 26, 2013
Exhibition

Featuring the work of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Paul D. Humphrey, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Inez Nathaniel Walker

The late twentieth century has seen great strides for women working within visual mediums, yet the male gaze persists as the primary perspective from which women are considered — and thus perceived — in film and art. This exhibition presents drawings and photographs of women by four self-taught artists from the1940s through the late twentieth century, two male, two female. Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Paul D. Humphrey, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Inez Nathaniel Walker offer four very different approaches that raise questions of intent, portrayal, and self-identity: Are the portraits acts of creation or acts of documentation, mimesis or wish fulfillment? Are self-taught artists immune from the pervasive male gaze of mainstream artmaking spheres, or do they reflect a gender divide that still runs deeply within American society?

Artworks

Untitled
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910–1983)
Milwaukee
c. 1940s–mid-1950s
Gelatin silver print
7 x 5 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of Lewis and Jean Greenblatt, 2004.26.20
Photo by Gavin Ashworth, New York

Untitled
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910–1983)
Milwaukee
c. 1940s–mid-1950s
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of Lewis and Jean Greenblatt, 2000.1.10
Photo by Gavin Ashworth, New York

Untitled
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910–1983)
Milwaukee
c. 1940s–mid-1950s
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of Lewis and Jean Greenblatt, 2006.22.3
Photo by Gavin Ashworth, New York

Karen B. Asleep
Paul D. Humphrey (1931–1999)
Burlington, Vermont
1987–1999
Crayon, ink, and pencil on paper
11 x 8 1/2 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of James Prez, 2009.7.2
Photo by Gavin Ashworth, New York

Sandra Asleep
Paul D. Humphrey (1931–1999)
Burlington, Vermont
1987–1999
Crayon, ink, and pencil on photocopied paper
11 x 8 1/2 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of James Prez, 2009.7.6
Photo by Gavin Ashworth, New York

Untitled (Woman and Plaid Background)
Nellie Mae Rowe (1900–1982)
Vinings, Georgia
1950s
Crayon and pencil on vinyl wallcovering display card
14 1/4 x 10 3/4 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of Judith Alexander, 1997.1.3
Photo by Gavin Ashworth, New York

Credits

The exhibition is sponsored, in part, by Joyce Berger Cowin, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions.