Women Artists Visibility Event
The Women's Artists Visibility Event (W.A.V.E.) also known as Let MOMA Know, was a demonstration held on June 14, 1984 to protest the lack of women artists represented in The Museum of Modern Art's re-opening exhibition "An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture." The exhibition, which included 165 artists, had 14 women among them.
The event's acronym, W.A.V.E., is a nod to Flag Day, which is observed on June 14 in the United States. 400 demonstrators, wearing suffragette yellow and white, marched in front the entrance to MoMA's newly expanded 53rd street building; a well received renovation that doubled its gallery space and increased traffic to the museum. Demonstrators had three demands: that MoMA exhibit works by women artists from their permanent collection, that it display women's work in loaned exhibitions, and that it create a policy to acquire women's work in the future. The WCA created pins to parody MoMA's "Museum of Modern Art OPENS" staff badges, upon which they included the addition "But Not to Women Artists." Cards were distributed listing the names of 100 well known female artists who were not featured in the exhibit, including Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Faith Ringgold and Louise Bourgeois.
One spokesperson for the museum, Louisa Kreisberg, noted that a film series in the exhibition featured four women of the six films shown, and that the staff at the museum was roughly 65% female.
The event was organized by the New York chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art (WCA), and supported by three additional feminist arts organizations; The Heresies Collective, Women's Interart Center, and New York Feminist Art Institute. Individual organizers for the event were artists Sabra Moore, and Betsy Damon and curator and President of WCA New York, Annie Shaver-Crandell.
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- Sabra, Moore (2016-10-25). Openings : a memoir from the women's art movement, New York City 1970-1992 (First ed.). New York, NY. ISBN 9781613320181. OCLC 945948899.
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- Anderson, Susan Heller (June 15, 1984). "Protest at the Modern For More Women's Art". New York Times.
- Clarissa Sligh, "30th Anniversary of Women Artists Protest MoMA"
- Clarissa Sligh, "Women Artists Visibility Event (W.A.V.E.)"
- Jennifer Tobias, "Messing With MoMA: Critical Interventions at the Museum of Modern Art, 1939 - Now."
- Clarissa Sligh Papers (1950 - 2012), Duke University
- Sabra Moore NYC Women's Art Movement Collection, 1969 - 1996, Barnard College