Guggenheim
Helen-Frankenthaler

As part of the Didaktika project, the Museum designs educational spaces and organizes activities that complement the exhibitions in an effort to provide tools and resources, both in the galleries and online, to facilitate the appreciation and understanding of the works on display.

The early 20th century witnessed major political and social changes throughout Europe. Among avant-garde artists, the idea of the transformative power of art and its ability to improve society was taking root. Artists like Kazimir Malevich, Vasily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian were pioneers in using an abstract or non-objective language, that is, one without any reference to the natural world, as a means of expressing pure emotion.

After World War II, Abstract Expressionism, whose epicenter was New York, ruled the art scene in the US, especially in the realm of painting, showcasing the gestural brushwork or color fields.

However, the diverse range of possibilities we find in this exhibition shows that many women artists worked on the sidelines of the bounds of the established artistic model. In addition to painting, they also explored other mediums like dance, performance, photography, and installations, and they used humble materials like scrap metal, lightbulbs, cellophane, and found objects. Thanks to them, new ways of breaching the artistic hierarchies were discovered.

American abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler at work on a large canvas, 1969. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images