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7 Pieces You Have to See at the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ New Exhibit

"No Man's Land" speaks to the dual themes of women's bodies and women's history as makers.

Jennifer Rubell's Lysa III (All photos by Amanda Whiting)

On Friday the National Museum of Women in the Arts will open an exhibition called “No Man’s Land: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection.” The second floor has been transformed into a gallery of modern and contemporary art that focuses on painting and sculpture created on a tremendous scale–work that speaks to the dual themes of women’s bodies and women’s history as makers. It’s not an exhibit to be looked at but walked through and, in the case of a nutcracker built from a mannequin and inspired by a gag nutcracker of Hillary Clinton, touched and used.

The exhibit premiered at last year’s Art Basel in Miami where it had over 45,000 square feet to roam. The NWMA version is condensed into a 59-piece highly curated “Rubell’s funhouse,” as curator Kathryn Wat described it. Artists featured include Cecily Brown, Marlene Dumas, DC’s own Rozeal and 2016 Turner Prize nominee Helen Marten. The exhibit is immense and intimidating and you should absolutely go. If you’re pressed for time, here are seven pieces you shouldn’t miss.


Solange Pessoa's Hammock
Solange Pessoa’s Hammock 


Josephine McKenner's American Leg
Josephine McKenner’s American Leg


Isa Genzken's Schauspieler at NMWA
Isa Genzken’s Schauspieler


Rozeal's Sacrifice #2: It Has to Last (after Yoshitoshi's "Drowsy: the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era")
Rozeal’s Sacrifice #2: It Has to Last (after Yoshitoshi’s “Drowsy: the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era”)


Mira Dancy's Street Ofelia
Mira Dancy’s Street Ofelia


Helen Marten's Under blossom: B. uses frenzy
Helen Marten’s Under blossom: B. uses frenzy 


Contributing Editor

Amanda has contributed to Washingtonian since 2016. She has written about the right-wing media personality Britt McHenry, chronicled her night with Stormy Daniels, and come clean about owning too much stuff. She lives on H Street. She can be reached at [email protected].