Riot Grrrls

Images

  • Bright yellow organic shapes with black triangles of varying sizes appear in the foreground of this painting, while red streaks and smeared handprints appear in the background.
  • A triangular grid of irregular white lines is painted over three vertically stacked fields of flat color. From top to bottom, the color fields are lilac, orange, and sea-foam green.
Bright yellow organic shapes with black triangles of varying sizes appear in the foreground of this painting, while red streaks and smeared handprints appear in the background.
Charline von Heyl, Alastor, 2008. Acrylic on linen; 82 1/8 × 78 1/8 × 1 5/8 in. (208.6 × 198.4 × 4.1 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin by exchange, 2012.116. © 2008 Charline von Heyl. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
A triangular grid of irregular white lines is painted over three vertically stacked fields of flat color. From top to bottom, the color fields are lilac, orange, and sea-foam green.
Judy Ledgerwood, Sailors See Green, 2013. Oil and metallic oil on canvas; 96 1/8 × 78 1/16 in. (249.2 × 198.3 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Katherine S. Schamberg by exchange 2014.3. © 2013 Judy Ledgerwood. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Joyce Pensato, Silver Batman II, 2012. Enamel on linen; 72 ¼ x 64 × 2 in. (183.5 × 162.6 × 5 cm). PG2012.3. © 2012 Joyce Pensato. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

Heading

Riot Grrrls is a celebration of female artists who are making bold and adventurous abstract paintings. Sexism continues to pervade the art world; male artists still garner higher prices for their work and are disproportionately represented in exhibitions. In a challenge to the boys’ club sensibility that has historically shaped abstract painting, the female painters featured in the exhibition achieve a level of mastery, innovation, and chutzpah that doesn’t need external validation.

The exhibition presents ten pioneering painters, including Mary Heilmann and subsequent leaders Charline von Heyl, Judy Ledgerwood, and Joyce Pensato, along with a younger group of rebels including Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and Amy Feldman. As with the feminist hardcore punk movement that gives the exhibition its title, these painters have influenced each other and the next generation of emerging artists.

Riot Grrrls is part of an ongoing exhibition series featuring iconic works from the MCA's collection. This exhibition is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

The exhibition is presented in the Carol and Douglas Cohen Gallery and Stone Family Gallery, Ellen Stone Belic and Dr. Nenad Belic, Cynthia and Richard Raskin, Carole David Stone and James H. Stone on the museum’s fourth floor.

Installation Images

Installation view, MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls, MCA Chicago, Dec 15, 2016–Jun 18, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls, MCA Chicago, Dec 15, 2016–Jun 18, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls, MCA Chicago, Dec 15, 2016–Jun 18, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls, MCA Chicago, Dec 15, 2016–Jun 18, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls, MCA Chicago, Dec 15, 2016–Jun 18, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls, MCA Chicago, Dec 15, 2016–Jun 18, 2017. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

About

THE ARTISTS FEATURED IN RIOT GRRRLS INCLUDE:

Tomma Abts (German, b. 1967)
Ellen Berkenblit (American, b. 1958)
Amy Feldman (American, b. 1981)
Mary Heilmann (American, b. 1940)
Judy Ledgerwood (American, b. 1959)
Ree Morton (American, 1936–1977)
Joyce Pensato (American, b. 1941)
Jackie Saccoccio (American-Italian, b. 1963)
Charline von Heyl (German, b. 1960)
Molly Zuckerman-Hartung (American, b. 1975)