by Emily Liebert and Nadiah Rivera Fellah
Picturing Motherhood Now is a sourcebook on the subject of contemporary art and motherhood, contributing to the wider discourse on feminist art history in the 21st century. The catalogue presents work by a diverse, global range of contemporary artists who represent motherhood and familial space as social sites, ripe for reappraisal. Taking the range of diverse feminisms from the 1960s through the 1990s as an antecedent, this exhibition and its catalogue continue the project of challenging familiar archetypes of motherhood. The artists in Picturing Motherhood Now use motherhood as a lens through which to examine contemporary social issues that include shifting definitions of family and gender, the preservation of matrilineal indigenous culture, and the survival of mothers and infants in communities of color.
Picturing Motherhood Now is a richly-illustrated volume that features painting, sculpture, photography, and installations by twenty contemporary artists at the vanguard of this field, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigerian, b. 1983), LaToya Ruby Frazier (American, b. 1982), Catherine Opie (American, b. 1961), and Zenib Sedira (French-Algerian, b. 1963). Their work is integrated with that of earlier feminist pioneers, such as Louise Bourgeois (French, 1911–2010), Alice Neel (American, 1900– 1984), and Betye Saar (American, b. 1926). Scholarly essays examine dimensions of matrilineage and contemporary art, enlarging our understanding of motherhood in contemporary culture. The catalogue also includes a round-table conversation among artists, curators, and theorists, animating the themes of the exhibition in a dynamic real-time exchange.
136 pages with 88 color images