The theme of the exhibit, dubbed WHY NOT?! and sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art, is "women artists pushing boundaries," organizers said in a statement. "Each artist had the opportunity to reflect on the question from whatever position she chose — personal, artistic, political, historical, etc. Why not, for instance, break the artistic rules they learned? Why not set an idea or societal demand on its head? Why not speak up for someone who doesn't have a voice? Why not make any statement you want?," the statement said.
“The end result (of answering this question) embodies what has made the field of art dynamic rather than static, creative rather than technical,” said Anne Doris Eisner, co-president of the Women’s Caucus. “It’s what art is all about."
Two other events expand on the theme of the show while the exhibit is on display. On Thursday, Sept. 18, the Museum will host A Taste for Art, which offers a guided tour of its permanent collection on Thursday, Sept. 18 at noon. The tour, which is free and open to the public, will begin with a lunch – bring your own – outside the Burt Chernow Galleries. Ann Chernow will speak about Burt, her husband and founder of the Museum; her own work; and the work of renowned artists Christo and Jeanne Claude. A tour focusing on women artists in the Museum's collection will follow.
Important women artists whose work is represented in the collection include Elaine de Kooning, Lee Bontecou, Alice Baber, Rene Schumacher, Sylvia Sleigh, Doris Cesar, Jane Freilicher, and Jane Peterson. Current or one-time WCA-CT members whose work is represented in the collection include Ann Chernow, Camille Eskell, Suzanne Benton, Alberta Cifolelli, June Ahrens and Susan Sharp.
On Thursday, Oct. 16, Women reinventing themselves will be the subject of a panel discussion entitled Re-invent: WHY NOT?! to be held at the Museum. Panelists include Suzanne Sheridan, singer, photographer, and author of 90 Pound Suburban Housewife; Prill Boyle, best-selling author of Defying Gravity, a book about late-blooming women; and former art journalist Lisa Paul Streitfeld, now a full-time writer & multi-media artist, including performance art and new media in NYC. The panel will discuss how women re-invent themselves, their careers, their ways of working and problem-solving, and how they break boundaries and re-energize.
A reception with the speakers and open to the public at no charge, will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Burt Chernow Galleries, followed by the panel discussion from 6:45 to 8:00 p.m.
The opening reception for the exhibit itself will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 4 in the Burt Chernow Galleries at Housatonic, 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport.
The show is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art and the Housatonic Museum of Art. The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism; the Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation; the Park City Dept. of Downtown Special Services, Bridgeport; and Nationwide Insurance, Jeff Tobin provided additional support.