The latest exhibition in the Herstory Gallery, The Fertile Goddess, just opened on December 19, 2008. Imagine how delighted Sarah Giovanniello, Research Assistant, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and I were to see this decoration, which Museum art class students kindly made for the Museum’s Holiday Party for staff! We immediately recognized many of the figurines from the exhibition.
The art instructor for the class, Reynolds, is an artist who has always been interested in goddesses and has even made some of her own goddess figurines. We are planning to visit her studio to see them after Elinor Gadon‘s talk tomorrow.
One fascinating aspect of working on this exhibition for me, as a scholar who studies ancient art, has been exposure to contemporary feminist art inspired by ancient female images. While scholars who study these ancient figurines often question their identification as goddesses, the reclamation of ancient female images and the concept of goddesses by feminist scholars and artists, beginning in the 1960s, is a rich field in itself. It is one that I have greatly enjoyed learning about from my co-curator, Maura Reilly, founding curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and from Sarah.
It is also a pleasure to see young artists making their own versions of these image and we hope to see more in the coming months. For more education related activities, visit the link to the Teacher’s Packet for the exhibition found here.
Madeleine Cody is a Research Associate for Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Middle Eastern Art. She has a B.A. in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College, an MA in Egyptology from Brown University, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She has worked on excavations in Italy, Yemen and Egypt. Since coming to the Museum in 1997, she has been involved with numerous projects and assisted the late James F. Romano, Project Director, with the second phase of the reinstallation of the Egyptian Galleries, which opened in 2003. With Jim and Richard A. Fazzini, she is a co-author of Art for Eternity: Masterworks from Ancient Egypt (Brooklyn, 1999) and has written about other Egyptian objects from the Museum’s collection. Currently, she is working with the ancient Middle Eastern Art collection, her other area of expertise. She is co-curator of the Herstory Gallery exhibition, The Fertile Goddess, (December 19, 2008 – May 31, 2009).