Miami University Art Museum
Arts & Theatre

New Art Exhibit Celebrates Women Artists

These new art exhibitions are only available to see until June 2021!

Miami University Art Museum Spring Exhibits

The Miami University Art Museum (MUAM) has curated three new beautiful and thought-provoking exhibitions that will be on display until June 11, 2021. Located in Oxford, this museum not only features five ever-changing galleries. With more than 10,000 objects in their permanent collection, the museum's exhibitions are always featuring new pieces and highlighting new themes.

"The undercurrent that unites the Spring 2021 exhibitions deal with spirituality. Sacred Songs pertains to the human spirit as it relates to religious and artistic expression; Miserere reflects Georges Rouault's concern for the human spirit and humanity through a religious response in response to war; while Confronting Greatness looks at the triumph of the human spirit with regards to women fighting for equality in the art world and to be seen not for their gender but for their contributions to the world through personal and collective expression," says Jason Shaiman, the Curator of Exhibitions at MUAM.    

Confronting Greatness: A Celebration of Women Artists 

Every Spring, a the students in Miami University's Art & Architecture History Senior Capstone class curates their own exhibition to show at the art museum. Five different art history faculty members rotate to teach the class with Jason. Dr. Annie Dell'Aria was the faculty member to teach this class, and choose the theme of the exhibition. This year's theme was inspired by the 50th anniversary of Linda Nochlin's seminal and groundbreaking 1971 article Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

"I have been wanting to teach a class on feminist art and feminist issues in art history for while now, and I knew that if I was going to teach a class that dealt with feminist art history, much of it would center on Nochlin's essay," says Annie. 

The famous article investigated and aimed to dismantle the institutional obstacles that prevented women's inclusion in the canon of art history. Confronting Greatness features an all-women roster of artists and popular groups like the Guerrilla Girls. Strolling through the gallery you'll also find artwork featuring inspiring women like Jane Goodall and Frida Kahlo, as well as the documentation of performance art from Carolee Schneemann's Interior Scroll.

"There are so many works that I love in the show, but I will say that it was a special treat for me to be able to display artifacts and documentation from Carolee Schneemann's Interior Scroll, which are on loan from Sara Vance Waddell," Annie says. "I've admired and taught Interior Scroll in my classes for years. Our display of these objects connects to many themes explored throughout the exhibition and expands out from the works we have on display by pointing to the importance of both performance art and experimental film in feminist art history."

Miriam Schapiro's Conservatory: Portrait of Frida Kahlo

In the MUAM's personal collection, about 21% of their pieces are from female artists. Within the exhibition, people will see a variety of work both from this collection as well as rarely seen loans from other art museums around the country. 

"In addition to the timeliness of Confronting Greatness, the show prompts viewers to think about inclusion in the museum. I have been to countless museum exhibitions that did not include a single woman, yet this is rarely discussed or mentioned," Annie explains. "By foregrounding women artists in this way, the show not only calls attention to tremendous creative production, but hopefully, makes us reflect critically on how normalized exclusion is within the museum and imparts a desire to hear from a wider variety of voices."

This exhibition is truly a rare collection of work, and highlights a broad variety of art in different mediums. 

Art Museum, Women Artists

"Confronting Greatness is the most important of the three current exhibitions and the most unique in its development. The Art and Architecture History Capstone exhibition program provides the opportunity for undergraduates to curate a full exhibition. Our students engage in an in-depth learning environment that goes beyond the traditional Capstone seminar by giving students real world experience and a venue for publicly demonstrating their acquired knowledge and collaboration," says Jason. 

The Miami University Art Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10AM to 5PM, and tickets are free for all visitors. You can make advanced online reservations for your visit here. The free ticket includes full admission to the outdoor sculpture park, the Confronting Greatness exhibition, the other two new Spring exhibitions, and three permanent exhibitions—The Leica Camera Collection, Global Perspectives, and Art History at a Glance.   

Miserere: Rouault's Plea for Mercy

This exhibition focuses on the acclaimed series Miserere by Georges Rouault. The series of drawings were completed between 1918 and 1927, and includes 58 etchings that stand as a personal testament to the reflections and horrors of World War I. 

Art Museum, Rouault Exhibition

The title Miserere is French and English for a request for prayer or mercy. "By selecting this title, Rouault made a plea for compassion and call for humanity to respond to the ailment that plagues civilization," MUAM writes. 

In a variety of unconventional techniques and tools, this series includes unique etchings that manipulated traditional printmaking processes. The complete Miserere series was gifted to MUAM in 1965 by William Murstein, but has never been in a dedicated exhibition until now.  

Sacred Songs: Antiphonals & Illuminations

The third exhibition highlights collections of sacred songs, chants and manuscripts dating all the way back to the 10th century. During this time, people created leafs or pages on which antiphons were written, evolved out of illuminated manuscript traditions featuring hand-rendered images and decorative elements.

Art Museum, Sacred Scroll

Sacred Songs displays a number of these impressive manuscripts, antiphonals and illuminations from the 10th, 11th and 12 centuries. The exhibition also includes audio playing in the background to give visitors more context to these religious songs. 

Make a reservation to the MUAM or view all three exhibitions online here! 


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801 South Patterson Avenue | Oxford, OH 45056

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Author Bio, Karly Dwenger

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