Podcast

Why Were So Many Women Excluded from the History of Abstract Expressionism?

In the fourth episode of the Hyperallergic Podcast we focus on the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.

From the entrance to the "Women Of Abstract Expressionism" exhibition in Denver (all photos by Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)
From the entrance to the “Women Of Abstract Expressionism” exhibition in Denver (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

Welcome back to the Hyperallergic Podcast. In our latest episode, we continue on our mission to bring you playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today.

Curator Gwen Chanzit (left) and artist Betty Godwin.
Curator Gwen Chanzit (left) and artist Judith Godwin

This episode focuses on the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. Curated by Gwen Chanzit, the show is full of wonderful works, highlighting what has largely been overlooked in the history of the movement. But the bigger question I explore in this episode is: why were the women largely left out of the history books on Abstract Expressionism?

We talk to Denver Art Museum curator Gwen Chanzit about her important exhibition, speak with the artist Judith Godwin — an Abstract Expressionist who has largely been ignored in the history books, I travel to the Upper West Side to get feminist art historian Linda Nochlin’s thoughts on the matter, and finally I chat with curator and critic Karen Wilkin, who was friends with Helen Frankenthaler (one of the leading Abstract Expressionist artists).

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The entrance to the show features a contrast of these two works by (left) Lee Krasner, and (right) Ethel Schwabacher.
The entrance to the show features a contrast of these two works by (left) Lee Krasner and (right) Ethel Schwabacher.
A view of works by Helen Frankenthaler
A view of works by Helen Frankenthaler
A Krasner (right) with a Frankenthaler (middle left).
A Krasner (right) with a Frankenthaler (middle left)
Works by Betty Godwin (right) and Krasner.
Works by Judith Godwin (right) and Krasner
Works by Betty Godwin, including "Martha Graham — Lamentation" (1956) left.
Works by Judith Godwin, including “Martha Graham — Lamentation” (1956, left)
Elaine de Kooning's "Bullfight" (1959), which was acquired by the Denver Museum of Art.
Elaine de Kooning’s “Bullfight” (1959) was acquired by the Denver Art Museum.
Works by Sonia Getchoff
Works by Sonia Getchoff
Work by Grace Hartigan
Works by Grace Hartigan
Works by Jay Defeo
Works by Jay DeFeo
Mary Abbott, "Oisin's Dream" (1952)
Mary Abbott, “Oisin’s Dream” (1952)
A painting by Ethel Schwabacher
A painting by Ethel Schwabacher
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