During her 70-year career as an artist, writer, and activist, May Stevens made art to combat social injustice and amplify the voices of women. Stevens came to prominence with the Feminist Art movement and was a founding member of Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics (1976) and an original Guerrilla Girl in 1985. Her studio practice engaged with many social movements, including Civil Rights, anti-Vietnam War, and Feminism. 

Stevens’s paintings comment on historical, political, and social conditions as well as the human condition, including poignant meditations on loss and grief.

The works in this exhibition span the years 1963 to 2008 and include a selection of paintings from the following series: Freedom Riders (1963–64), History Paintings (1974–81), Big Daddy (1967–76), Ordinary/Extraordinary (1976–91), Sea of Words, and Rivers and Other Bodies of Water (1990–2006). 

May Stevens: Mysteries, Politics, and Seas of Words joins exhibitions at other cultural institutions around the country to participate in the Feminist Art Coalition (FAC). FAC fosters collaborations between arts institutions that aim to make public their commitment to social justice and structural change. It seeks to generate cultural awareness of feminist thought, experience, and action.

May Stevens: Mysteries, Politics, and Seas of Words is generously supported by the Estate of May Stevens. Additional support is provided by the New Mexico Museum of Art. Special thanks to Patricia Hills and Emily Whitfield, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York, and to all the lenders to the exhibition.

For more information, visit sitesantafe.org.

SITElab 14: May Stevens: Mysteries, Politics, and Seas of Words is on view at SITE Santa Fe (1606 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM) from March 26 through June 9, 2021. This exhibition is co-curated by Brandee Caoba and Lucy R. Lippard.

This message is partially funded by the City of Santa Fe Arts and Culture Department and the 1% Lodgers’ Tax.