Photo by Larry Oeser, Missoula, MT
Miriam Schapiro: Works on Paper, A Thirty Year Retrospective
The Art Museum of Missoula presents Miriam Schapiro: Works on Paper, A Thirty Year Retrospective, from September 3 - November 24, 1999. The exhibition, curated by the Tucson Museum of Art, celebrates the important work of this pioneer among contemporary artists of our day, with over 50 works on paper. Throughout her career Schapiro has drawn attention to the under-recognized voices of women in the art world and is widely respected as a spokesperson for women artists in western cultures. She is also an internationally recognized leader in two art movements: the Feminist Art Movement and the Pattern and Decoration Movement (painting genre of the 1970's). She is the recipient of six honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards, among them: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Ford Foundation Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Skowhegan Medal, Rockefeller Fellowship/Bellagio, and the Women's Caucus for Art.
The exhibition and accompanying full-color catalog contain works representing every major theme explored in the artist's long, distinguished career. Schapiro coined the term "femmage" (female + collage) to describe some of the works included in this exhibition. In these works Schapiro combines painting with collage elements that express women's experiences and traditions. By using materials and techniques associated with women's crafts such as quilting, embroidery, fabrics, and sewing, Miriam nods to the generations of women who have expressed themselves through these media, and elevates women's crafts from mundane household items to fine art.
The exhibition and related activities are co-sponsored by: UM Women's Studies Program, the Jim and Jane Dew Visiting Artist Fund, UM Art Department and the Art Associates of Missoula.
Images from top to bottom: Miriam Schapiro, photo, Courtesy of Tucson Museum of Art; Collaboration Series: Cluny Tapestry, 1973, acrylic and paper, 27 x 19 inches; Floating World of Quilts, 1983, acrylic and fabric collage, 38 x 36 inches; My History, 1997, acrylic and Xerox collage, 33 1/4 x 25 inches, Lent by Elanor and Leonard Flomenhaft
The building housing the Art Museum of Missoula was built in 1903 as a public library with $12,500 from the Carnegie Foundation. Andrew Carnegie (1837 - 1919) was a steel manufacturer and philanthropist who gave away millions of dollars. Between 1880 and 1919 he built over 1,700 libraries in the United States to encourage adult learning.
The library/museum building was designed by Missoula architect A.J. Gibson, who also designed the Missoula County Courthouse. He used the Neo-classical style which was popular in the early 1900's. The building has three bays, and is fronted by a central staircase capped with a pediment and two Doric columns of granite. The second-story addition was built in 1913 by Ole Bakke.
The building served as a library until April 1, 1974, when the Missoula Public Library moved to its present Main Street location. The Missoula Museum of the Arts opened the following year in the former library building, operating as one of two county museums in Missoula. In 1994, the Museum The Art Museum of Missoula building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
editor's note: Since the date of publication of the above article on September 11, 1999, the name of the museum has changed to Missoula Art Museum
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