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Feminism in American Art History

Wyeth Foundation for American Art Symposium

A Virtual Symposium | December 4–11, 2020

This annual program supported by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art is Feminism in American Art History, a two-part symposium consisting of eight prerecorded lectures and a live panel discussion moderated by Steven Nelson, dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. The speakers—Kirsten Pai Buick, Aruna D’Souza, Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Lisa Farrington, Jessica Horton, Jenny Lin, Helen Molesworth, and Jennifer Van Horn—reveal the latest thinking in the history and historiography of feminism and gender in American art. The symposium is held in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Linda Nochlin’s landmark essay of 1971, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” and in honor of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

This symposium is organized by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. The Trustees of the National Gallery of Art are grateful to the Wyeth Foundation for American Art for making this symposium possible.

Take Part in the Discussion


Unidentified artist, Flora, c. 1796–1820, cut paper on millboard with pen and brown ink, 14 x 13 in. Stratford Historical Society, Stratford, CT

Online Event
Live Panel Discussion
December 11, 3:30 p.m.

Join us for a discussion with all eight symposium presenters (Kirsten Pai Buick, Aruna D’Souza, Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Lisa Farrington, Jessica Horton, Jenny Lin, Helen Molesworth, and Jennifer Van Horn), moderated by Steven Nelson, dean, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.

This event has already taken place.



Photograph by Aziza Murray

Kirsten Pai Buick
The Flesh Made Word: Soft Power, The Female Nude, and the Autobiography of Louisine Havemeyer

Kirsten Pai Buick is professor of art history at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject and the forthcoming In Authenticity: "Kara Walker" and the Eidetics of Racism.


Photograph by Dana Hoey

Aruna D’Souza
Lorraine O’Grady, Simone Leigh, and the Problem and Power of Invisibility

Aruna D’Souza is a writer and critic who focuses on modern and contemporary art and intersectional feminisms and politics. She is author of Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts and editor of the forthcoming Making it Modern: A Linda Nochlin Reader.


Cecilia Fajardo-Hill
The Radicality of Latina/x and Chicana/x Feminisms

Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, research scholar at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, Los Angeles, is an art historian and curator in modern and contemporary art, specializing in Latin American art. She cocurated the exhibitions The Political Body: Radical Women in Latin American Art 1960‒1985 (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles) and Xican-a.o.x.Body (American Federation of Arts, 2022). 


Lisa Farrington
Black Feminist Art: Genesis

Lisa Farrington is associate dean of fine arts and director of the Gallery of Art, Howard University, and distinguished professor emeritus, CUNY. She is author of the forthcoming publication Documents in Twentieth-Century Art: The African Diaspora.


Jessica Horton
Diné-Mapuche Weaving and the Relational Roots of Ecofeminism

Jessica Horton, associate professor at the University of Delaware, is a scholar of modern and contemporary art, Native American politics, globalization, and environmental justice. She is author of Art for an Undivided Earth: The American Indian Movement Generation.


Jenny Lin
Another Beautiful Country: Cross-Cultural Hauntings in Chinese American Art

Jenny Lin is associate professor of critical studies at the Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California. She is author of Above Sea: Contemporary Art, Urban Culture, and the Fashioning of Global Shanghai.


Photograph by Brigitte Lacombe

Helen Molesworth
How Many Feminists Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? More Thoughts on Lee Lozano

Helen Molesworth is a writer and curator. She recently hosted Recording Artists, a podcast series from the Getty, and is currently working on a book about art, love, and freedom. A few of her exhibitions include Noah Davis (David Zwirner Gallery), Kerry James Marshall: Mastry (The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago), and Leap before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933‒1957 (Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston). 

Photograph by Benjamin Lozovsky

Jennifer Van Horn
Shades of Her Ancestors: Early American Silhouettes and Enslaved Women

Jennifer Van Horn is associate professor of art history and associate professor of history at the University of Delaware. She is the author of The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America and a forthcoming book, Portraits of Resistance: Activating Art during Slavery.


Steven Nelson

Steven Nelson is dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts since July 2020. He was previously professor of African and African American art history and director of the African Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Related Wyeth Foundation for American Art Programs

Explore other lectures and panels generously supported by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art and organized by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.

Top Image Credit: Lee Lozano, Breach (detail), 1966, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase through the Director's Discretionary Fund), 2015.19.125