“Women Inside and Outside the Grid: New Approaches to Modernist Sculpture” at Terra Foundation Paris Center & Library

November 16, 2017
Terra Foundation Paris Center & Library

Recent attention to American women sculptors of the 1960s and 1970s has significantly extended the parameters of thinking about high-modernist sculpture and minimalist aesthetics in general. New work has come to the foreground, and interpretation has shifted. For example, the exhibition Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, held at the Museum of Modern Art in the summer of 2017, engages the work of Lee Bontecou, Anne Truitt, Louise Bourgeois, and many others. Readings of this form of sculpture, claiming gender as a multivalent and unstable sign, put into question the rhetoric of immediacy, unity, and power that has been associated with the art of this period, in particular by artist Donald Judd and critics Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried. Going beyond the pioneering feminist criticism of Lucy Lippard, Annette Michelson, and Barbara Rose, these studies unsettle sharp oppositions between attributes that are supposedly masculine and others more commonly equated with feminist artistic language, especially in the cases of Truitt and Bontecou. Equally important in this revisionist rewriting is the close examination of the temporal dimension characterizing many of these works.

In this dialogue, participants look at modernist sculpture again, perhaps in a richer and more subtle manner than before.


  • Jo Applin, Professor of Art History, Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Miguel de Baca, Associate Professor of Art History, Lake Forest College and Terra Foundation Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford

Videography by Romain Grésillon.