National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC
Paris has seen some excellent exhibitions dedicated to women artists in recent months: Kati Horna at the Jeu de Paume, Niki de Saint Phalle (at the Grand Palais until February 2), Sonia Delaunay (at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris until February 22).
But France doesn’t have anything like the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the only institution in the world dedicated solely to women artists.
The French appear to have been paying attention however, with the NMWA recieving this year’s Simone de Beauvoir prize. The prize is awarded annually to individuals or groups fighting for gender equality. In January 2014, the Prize was awarded to Michelle Perrot and in 2013 to Malala Yousafzai.
“The National Museum of Women in the Arts is extremely honored to receive the prestigious Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “NMWA is dedicated to providing a platform for women’s free expression and filling the void in recognition of women artists past, present and future.”
The NMWA, founded in Washington DC in 1981, is the first American organisation to receive the prize, testament to its international reach and its unique mission.
Camille Morineau, curator of the Niki de Saint Phalle show, as well as elles@centre pompidou, an exhibition dedicated to women artists who feature in the Pompidou’s permanent collections, said: “NMWA deserves to be selected as it is a completely unique place in the world, which shelters women artists, their works, their history and their narratives; encourages research and a critical point of view; and welcomes curators like me who try to change the paradigms in art history,”
The prize will be awarded on January 9th at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris. The jury is chaired by Josyane Savigneau of Le Monde and includes Julia Kristeva (professor at Paris Diderot University, writer and psychoanalyst), Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir (honorary president) amongst other public figures.