Virtual Curator Talk on "Seen & Heard: The Art of Empowerment" at the Figge Art Museum -- July 30.

Thursday, July 30, 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by the Figge Art Museum

Appearing in a virtual July 30 Curator Talk hosted by Davenport's Figge Art Museum, the Figge's Assistant Curator Vanessa Sage offers insights into her curatorial process regarding the venue's current exhibition Seen & Heard: The Art of Empowerment – a celebration of women artists on display through May 2.

Drawn from the Figge’s collection, Seen & Heard: The Art of Empowerment features works by 13 female artists – including Marisol, Grace Hartigan, Louise Nevelson, Lee Krasner, and Alison Saar – who asserted their artistic empowerment despite social and cultural barriers. In addition to empowering themselves, several of the artists on view give voice and visibility to the marginalized through their artistry.

The featured artists have created innovative and significant bodies of work, and have also tenaciously pursued art-making for decades, determinedly brought their creative visions to life and forged innovative methods and techniques. One such artist was Louise Nevelson, a creative force who went decades before receiving recognition. An outstanding example of her wall assemblages, Nevelson's 1984 piece Moon Zag III is on display in Seen & Heard. A number of the artists also created work concerning women’s experiences, establishing that it was a subject deserving visibility and recognition. Other artists created work that brought attention to societal injustices and traditionally marginalized groups – among them Carrie Mae Weems, who probes the racial, social, and, cultural inequities in art history through her 2001 piece Not Manet’s Type. Whether pursuing individual or communal agency, the artists featured here have contributed to a more inclusive environment in the art world and beyond.

While opportunities and representation for women have improved, there is still gender disparity in the art world. According to a 2018 study by cultural economist Clare McAndrew, only a third of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries feature women artists while major museums demonstrate even lower figures. The Figge is working to help change those numbers, and the museum's second-floor orientation gallery will be installed with works by women artists until at least May of 2021.

As Figge Assistant Curator Vanessa Sage says, “We are proud to present these dynamic artworks from the museum collection, including several recent acquisitions. While issues of inequality and representation remain prevalent in the art world, the Figge is dedicated to better representing the world in which we live and the artists who are an essential part of it.”

Vanessa Sage's online presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. on July 30, and although her virtual Curator Talk is free, advance registration is required, with virtual registrants receiving an e-mail with a link to join the program at the scheduled time. For more information on the event, or on the Seen & Heard: The Art of Empowerment exhibit running through May 2, call (563)326-7804 or visit

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