Exhibitions: Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection

Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953). Untitled (Man Smoking/Malcolm X), from the Kitchen Table series, 1990. Gelatin silver print, edition 5 of 5. Brooklyn Museum, Caroline A. L. Pratt Fund, 1991.168

October 31, 2008–April 5, 2009

Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection is an exhibition of nearly fifty works focusing on recent acquisitions and major loans, including works by artists such as Kiki Smith, Tracey Emin, Tracey Moffatt, and Lorna Simpson.

The exhibition title refers to the idea of the “master’s house” from two perspectives: the museum as the historical domain of male artists and professed masters of art history, and the house as the supposed proper province of women.

Most of the paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and videos in the exhibition are by self-declared feminists and artists of later generations working within the historic framework of feminist art. The widely diverse forms and ideas on view suggest that feminist art is not limited to a specific look or reading.

Among the works on view are Carrie Mae Weems's Untitled (Man Smoking/Malcolm X), 1990, which explores human experience from the vantage point of an African American female subject; a "femmage" painting by Miriam Schapiro titled Agony in the Garden that pays homage to Frida Kahlo; a haunting print by Kara Walker of a self-empowered heroine from the American antebellum South; and a “bunny” sculpture by Nayland Blake that challenges constructions of masculinity. Among the important loans from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections is one of Hannah Wilke's major sculptures, Rosebud, from 1976.

Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection is the latest in a series of exhibitions in the main temporary exhibition space of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. The exhibition is co-curated by Maura Reilly, founding curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, and Nicole Caruth, independent curator and former Manager of Interpretative Materials, Brooklyn Museum.


Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection is made possible by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation.

Exhibition Highlights

Suzanne Opton: Soldier Tomoko Sawada: Untitled Cindy Sherman: Untitled Kiki Smith: Born

Video Teacher Packet