Join ArtTable as we bring together changemakers, art historians, administrators and artists to reflect on the absence of women in public art and the creative efforts to change our gendered urban landscapes.
Where men once stood, we now see a push for the commemoration of women in the public sector. In New York alone there are plans to erect tributes to the suffragettes, Elizabeth Stanton and Susan Anthony, as well as, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to serve in Congress. The future is looking less bronze and male.
Meet our panelists! For over 40 years, Meredith Bergmann has been making sculpture that deals with complex themes in an accessible, beautiful, and provocative way. She works both on public monuments and on a private scale, exploring issues of history, social justice, race, human rights, disabilities, and the power of poetry and music. Her art has been shown in more than two dozen exhibitions and appears in 10 institutional collections. Her largest public commission, unveiled in 2003, was for the Boston Women’s Memorial on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay. Her FDR Hope Memorial for New York City’s Roosevelt Island will be unveiled this year, and she is currently sculpting statues of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony that will break the “bronze ceiling” in NYC’s Central Park.
Kendal Henry is an artist and curator who lives in New York City and specializes in the field of public art for over twenty-five years. He illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride and economic development through the projects and programs he’s initiated in the US, Europe, Russia, Asia, Central Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Caribbean.
He’s currently the Director of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program and an adjunct professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. He is a guest lecturer at various universities and educational institutions including the Abbey Mural Workshop at the National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts; Rhode Island School of Design Senior Studio; and Pratt Institute’s Arts and Cultural Management Program. Kendal served as the Director of Culture and Economic Development for the City of Newburgh, NY where he created the region’s first Percent for Art Program.
Harriet F. Senie is director of the MA program in art history with tracks in art museum studies and art museum education at The City College, CUNY; she also teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center. Prior to that she was the Associate Director of The Art Museum at Princeton University. She is the author of Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2015); Dangerous Precedent? The `Tilted Arc' Controversy (University of Minnesota Press, 2001); and Contemporary Public Sculpture: Tradition, Transformation, and Controversy (Oxford University Press, 1992). She is co-editor and contributor to Critical Issues in Public Art: Content, Context, and Controversy (HarperCollins, 1992; Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998) and co-editor and contributor to the Companion to Public Art (Wiley Blackwell, 2016), as well as Museums and Public Art? (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2017). In 2008, she co-founded Public Art Dialogue, an international organization and a College Art Association affiliate. She co-edited the peer review journal, Public Art Dialogue since its first issue in March 2011 through the spring 2017 issue. She is currently working on a book entitled Memorials in a Post-Heroic Age. Recently she was a member of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers; as well as She Built New York; and the selection panels for a memorial to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony; Flight 587; and in Mexico City the selection of a memorial to the 1968 student uprisings and killings. For more information see harrietfsenie.com.
Judith Shea is an American born artist based in New York City. Her career began with her influential 'clothing' work of the mid-1970s, the hollow iron and bronze figures of the 1980s, hand-carved wooden 'anti-monuments' of the 90s, and recent statues of metal, wood, clay, and cloth. The content of her work has dealt with the complex sentiments of being human set against the muteness of formal sculptural limitations, sometimes hi-lighted by reconfiguring iconic imagery from art history to punctuate current life.
For her personal narrative of 9-11, “Judith Shea: Legacy Collection” - imagining a window in the Brooks Brothers store facing the Twin Towers that fateful day, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Visual Art in 2012. In addition Shea has received the 2011 Artists Legacy Foundation Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2011), The Rome Prize (1994), the Fellowship of The Saint-Gaudens Memorial (1993), The Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio (1993), and two National Endowment for the Arts Awards in Sculpture (1984, 1986).
This conversation is moderated by Cathie Behrend. Catherine Hannah Behrend (Cathie) is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology Graduate Program in the Art Market and NYU in the Arts Administration SPS program.
She was appointed to the Mayor’s Council on New Media established to foster synergy between arts organizations and Internet companies and managed the annual Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Science and Technology. She also represented Cultural Affairs on the Mayor’s Committee on Graffiti
Cathie served under six NYC Mayoral administrations prior to her transition to teaching and tours with positions ranging from managing street and park festivals, to leading the economic development efforts to keep and attract Fortune 500 companies to NYC.
Her last position was Deputy Director of the Percent for Art Program in the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs from 1995-2007. Percent for Art mandates that one percent of the construction budget of city-eligible capital projects must be spent on the integration of art into architecture. During her tenure, 125 projects were initiated or completed - many with world renown artists.