He Said/She Said: Contemporary Women Artists Interject Opens at Dallas Museum of Art

He Said/She Said Exhibition
Lauren Halsey, South Central City, photo courtesy DMA

“He Said/She Said: Contemporary Women Artists Interject” opened at the Dallas Museum of Art Dec. 17. The exhibition of works by women artists from the 1970s to today has been a work in progress for DMA for seven years. The DMA dedicated resources to acquire works by female artists and people of color, and create space of more inclusive narratives. He Said/She Said presents over 15 women artists group shows and individual expositions. Many of the works presented in the exhibition are recent acquisitions making their debut, along with loans from local collections.

“It is no secret that we are living through an incredible moment in history when women artists are driving the pop culture narrative.” said the Eugene McDermott Director, Agustín Arteaga. “In this spectacular era of women-powered success, we are thrilled to showcase how women artists have been carving out space and commandeering the narrative throughout history.”

He Said/She Said Exhibition

Visitors are welcomed into “He Said/She Said: Contemporary Women Artists Interject” with works from the DMA’s permanent collection by famous male artists’ Jackson Pollock and Jasper Johns. These prominent male artists’ works are juxtaposed with recent acquisitions by pioneering women artists like Carolee Schneemann.

He Said/She Said
Kaleta A. Doolin, Improved Janson: A Woman on Every Page, photo courtesy DMA

Kaleta A. Doolin’s “Improved Janson: A Woman on Every Page” confronts the viewer by modifying Janson’s “A History of Art” (an art history textbook first published in 1962 and still used in many undergraduate classes). Doolin points out that the only women who appeared in such textbooks had been nude models.

The artists in the section Women and Appropriation started creating art during the rise of Postmodernist theory in the late 1970s to 1990s. The work of the artists in this section, including Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman and Sherrie Levine, questions the validity of male genius and critiques the images of women as objects of sexual desire.

Black Female Subjectivity

This section of He Said/She Said shows artists who appropriate imagery made famous by white male artists, reclaiming their agency as the subject of the narrative. Artworks by Janiva Ellis, Lorna Simpson, and Lauren Halsey are juxtaposed with works by Donald Judd and Robert Motherwell. The women artists’ argue for a visual language that accommodates the lived experience of Black women.

He Said/She Said at DMA
Emily Mae Smith, The Slippers; photo courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

In Women and Surrealism, artists such as Leonora Carrington and Olivia Erlanger exemplify Surrealism and its legacy. The artists in this section use hybrid or anthropomorphic figures, or shocking juxtaposition favored by Surrealists, to overtly critique gender roles.

Friendship and Collaborations

The final section of the exhibition, Friendship and Collaborations shows that women artists, while fighting for their inclusion in art history, have also had close and productive relationships with male artists. These relationships are highlighted through a series of works in which male artists serve as female artists’ subjects. Works that demonstrate the collaboration between men and women designers are also featured.

“He Said/She Said has been a wonderful opportunity to place the cornerstones of our postwar collection and in dialogue with more recent acquisitions to give them fresh context,” said Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. “The conversations that the women artists in this exhibition have started force us to reexamine how art historical narratives have privileged the work of white male artists over the expense of women and people of color, and what is gained when we broaden our perspective.”

He Said/She Said: Contemporary Women Artists Interject

The exhibition is on view through July 21, 2024, and is curated by Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. “He Said/She Said” is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. Tickets for the exhibition are available at dma.org.

He Said/She Said at DMA
Olivia Erlanger, Pergusa, photo courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

Free General Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is made possible with generous support from the Robert Gerard Pollock Foundation. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture.

DMA Offers Free First Sundays in 2024

Furthering its commitment to serve its community through free and accessible art experiences, the DMA will kick off 2024 by offering free First Sundays: Access for All. The offer expands the Museum’s free general admission to include all ticketed exhibitions on the first Sunday of each month through 2026. Free First Sundays is made possible by the Art Bridges Foundation’s Access for All program. The three-year funding initiative aims to increase access to museums across America and foster engagement with local audiences.

“Providing access to art for all is an essential tenet of our institution,” said Eugene McDermott Director Agustín Arteaga. “We are grateful to the Art Bridges Foundation for helping us expand upon our free general admission offerings to extend a welcoming hand to each and every corner of our community.”

During the first installment of free First Sundays: Access for All on January 7, 2024, Museum-goers will have the opportunity to experience Abraham Ángel: Between Wonder and Seduction. They also have access to Afro-Atlantic Histories and He Said/She Said: Contemporary Women Artists Interject, typically a $40 value, at no cost. For more information, please visit dma.org.

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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.