Upcoming Exhibitions

Sparkling Amazons: Abstract Expressionist Women of the 9th St. ShowOctober 6, 2019 - January 26, 2020


Sparkling Amazons presents the often-overlooked contribution by women artists to the Abstract Expressionist movement and the significant role they played as bold innovators within the New York School during the 1940s and 50s. Through the presentation of some 30 works of art alongside documentary photography, the exhibition captures an important moment in the history of Abstract Expressionism.

The catalyst for this project is the groundbreaking 9th St. show arranged by avant-garde artists with the help of the fledgling gallerist, Leo Castelli in 1951. The show became a pivotal moment for the emergence and acceptance of Abstract Expressionism. The artists of the 9th St. show had struggled to gain critical recognition having been shut out by museums and galleries due to the radical nature of their work. Of the more than 60 artists in the show, including many who were to become prominent figures in Abstract Expressionism, only 11 were women. This is the first time works by these extraordinary women will be brought together since the 9th St. show took place 68 years ago.

In the early 1970s, the preeminent editor and art critic, Thomas Hess, would refer to them as “sparkling Amazons.” These women would neither have viewed themselves as “Amazons” nor as feminists; they simply worked and lived as artists, pursuing their professions with the same dedication as their male counterparts even though the social stakes were much higher for them at the time. Several of the artists, including Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Elaine de Kooning and Helen Frankenthaler went on to have distinguished careers and have found their rightful place in the art historical canon. Others, including Grace Hartigan, Perle Fine and Anne Ryan, enjoyed critical success. The remainder, Sonia Sekula, Day Schnabel, Jean Steubing and Guitou Knoop are yet to be fully recognized by art history, a fact that this exhibition addresses.

Curated by Associate Curator, Michele Wijegoonaratna, PhD.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with support from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

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Image Credits:
Main image: Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1957, oil and house paint on canvas, 92 3/4 × 203 7/8 in. (235.6 × 517.8 cm), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from Frances and Sydney Lewis by exchange, the Mrs. Percy Uris Purchase Fund and the Painting and Sculpture Committee 87.7 © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artist Rights Society (ARS).

Elaine de Kooning, Bullfight, 1959, 77 3/8 in. x 130 ½ in. (197.7 x 331.47cm) Denver Art Museum Collection: Vane H. Kirkland Acquisition Fund, 2012.300 © Elaine de Kooning Trust Photography courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.


Bisa ButlerMarch 15 - June 14, 2020

Bisa Butler. Black Star Family, first class tickets to Liberia, 2018, Cotton, silk and denim, Private Collection, Saint Louis, MO


On March 15, 2020 the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY will proudly present the work of Bisa Butler. This will be the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s current work and will feature approximately 25 of her vivid and larger-than-life quilts that capture African American identity and culture.

Butler, a formally trained African American artist of Ghanaian heritage, broaches the dividing line between creating with paints on canvas and creating with fiber by fashioning magnificent quilts and elevating a medium hitherto designated as craft into one that is clearly high art. While quilts have historically been isolated in the history of art as the products of working women, Butler’s work not only acknowledges this tradition, but also reinvents it. Continuing with an aesthetic set in motion by artists such as Romare Bearden and Faith Ringgold, Butler forges an individual and expressive signature style that draws upon her own cultural background and experiences.