‘Visibilities: Intrepid Women of Artpace’ Group Show to Open Year-Long Celebration of Female Artists

click to enlarge Margaret Meehan's work, seen here, will be on display in the group show. - Kevin Todora
Kevin Todora
Margaret Meehan's work, seen here, will be on display in the group show.
It’s been a quarter century since late local artist, collector and philanthropist Linda Pace opened the doors to Artpace, a nonprofit residency program and exhibition space she conceived as a “laboratory of dreams” where artists could experiment and venture into unfamiliar creative territory. In that time span, more than 200 artists from around the world have lived and created work at Artpace in conjunction with its renowned International Artist-in-Residence program.

In observance of the spaces’s 25th anniversary as well as the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote, the institution is dedicating all non-residency exhibitions in 2020 to the work of female and female-identifying artists.

In keeping with Pace’s feminist sensibility, the series opener “Visibilities: Intrepid Women of Artpace” aims to explore “issues of identity, femininity, gender, feminism and womanhood (in whatever form that may take) in an age when Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ still resonates.” Curated by Artpace Residency and Exhibitions Manager Erin K. Murphy, the group show assembles works by more than 10 artists, including former residents and two women with vital ties to the institution.

When reached for comment, Murphy explained that several of the included works were created for Artpace residency exhibitions, such as Los Angeles-based filmmaker, performer and MacArthur Fellow Wu Tsang’s “You Sad Legend” (2016) and pioneering New York feminist artist and shape-shifting photographer Martha Wilson’s “Political Evolution” (2017). Known for work addressing gender discrimination, racism and social injustice, Guatemalan artist Regina José Galindo temporarily incarcerated herself and her family in a rented cell installed at Artpace for her memorable 2008 exhibition “America’s Family Prison.” During her residency, Galindo created a video piece that’s never been shown at the space.

“It is really exciting to be able to show the work she made here in 2008,” Murphy said.

Although the specifics of their contributions were unavailable at press time, Artpace confirmed the participation of San Antonio-based former residents Kathy Vargas (1997), Jenelle Esparza (2018) and Jennifer Ling Datchuk (2019).

Essential to many works created at Artpace since 1995, local fine art printer Hare & Hound Press also informs the “Visibilities” conversation through a piece created by proprietor Janet Flohr. Held in the permanent collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art, Pace’s 2003 assemblage Green Peace promises to be an exhibition highlight as it strikes up a vivid counterbalance to Red Project, the piece that welcomes visitors to her recently realized dream of Ruby City.

Free, opening reception 6-8 p.m. Thursday, January 9, on view 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday through April 6, Artpace, 445 N. Main Ave., (210) 212-4900, artpace.org.

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