The Personal is Political: Images of Women from the Harnett Print Study Center Collection is on view from August 23, 2017, to July 2, 2018, in the Atrium of the Modlin Center for the Arts. The inspiration for this exhibition is Carol Hanisch’s brief but highly influential 1969 essay “The Personal is Political.” Hanisch originally drafted her essay to emphasize the importance of consciousness-raising groups that met in the 1960s and were being criticized as “therapy” sessions. She argued that these meetings were forms of political action. To Hanisch, everything from equal pay for equal work to sexual harassment to unequal sharing of housework and child rearing among spouses related to the problematic subordination of women in contemporary American society.
The prints in this exhibition depict women either enacting or struggling against “roles” defined by society. The women in these images are sexualized objects, frumpy matrons, idealized leaders, dreamy-eyed protagonists, romantic partners, or highly aggressive provocateurs. Some of the artworks were created by women and others by men, but all feature highly-stylized representations, building on art historical traditions of portraiture and figure studies. Highlighted artists include Rosalyn Drexler (American, born 1926), Reginald Marsh (American, 1898-1954), and Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987).
The exhibition is on view in the Modlin Center Atrium in the Modlin Center for the Arts, open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, and during events.
Organized by the University of Richmond Museums in conjunction with the 2017-2018 Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance, the exhibition was curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University Museums. All of the artworks in the exhibition are from the permanent collection of the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University Museums.