Helen Kornblum was a psychotherapist in St. Louis for forty years. She began collecting art and realised “I was thinking about who is writing the art history books, who are the directors of the museums — they were all men! I turned my focus on collecting just women artists, from the early 20th century into the present. It changed my life in many ways.” The Kornblum Collection consists of 100 works of art by 76 women and was donated by Kornblum to the Museum of Modern Art – where the new additions “add significant examples of women artists’ pioneering achievements across the field,” according to a press release from MoMA.
Incidentally the MOMA has had only six directors since 1929 and it isn’t a great surprise to learn they have all been men. While its collection is mostly the work of men. Roxana Marcoci, the senior curator of photography at MOMA, was quoted in Buzzfeed “this is because most women artist have not necessarily been affiliated with an ‘ism’ and have often worked as independent agents unjustifiably left out of art historical discourses.”
Marcoci again, this time writing about women artists featured in the exhibition at MOMA: The discourse was forever changed by Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” which was published in ARTnews as part of the special issue “Women’s Liberation, Woman Artists, and Art History.” Nochlin questioned the validity of the very idea of greatness—of the stand-alone genius associated with male artists and masterpieces.
Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum, organized by Roxana Marcoci, The David Dechman Senior Curator, with Dana Ostrander and Caitlin Ryan, Curatorial Assistants, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, is on view at MoMA from April 16 through October 2, 2022.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.