Women presidential candidates are focus of DePaul Art Museum window installation

Ahead of the 2020 election, the front windows of DePaul Art Museum will feature work by artist Kathryn Andrews that highlights the biases in the country’s political system by listing the names of all 87 women who have run for president in the U.S., some dating back to before women had the right to vote.

Located on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus, the site-specific installation will dominate the entirety of the museum’s front windows on Fullerton Avenue.

“In this critical moment for our country’s democracy, Kathryn’s message is pivotal, but I am encouraged that many of those names listed in Kathryn’s project have come from just the last few years. It has been many years in the making, but it is hopeful that so many women feel empowered right now to run on a larger platform,” said Laura-Caroline de Lara, DePaul Art Museum’s interim director.

Andrews places the long list of historic, though largely forgotten, women’s names in the foreground, and contrasts it with the highly recognizable faces of the men who have won the office of the president, ranging from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. 

“This project speaks to the pervasive sexism in the realm of American presidential politics,” said Andrews. “After nearly 150 years of women running for the seat, America still refuses to elect a woman. The work honors the legacy of those who have courageously challenged a system that is biased and unjust,” she said.

Trailblazing women

Beginning with Victoria Woodhull in 1872, women have graced the nation’s potential presidential stages in primaries and general elections long before they could vote. These trailblazers include Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress; Patsy Mink, the author of the nation’s Title IX civil rights law, who worked to protect people from discrimination based on their sex; and Gloria La Riva, the 2020 presidential nominee for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who in 1992 was the first Latinx woman to run for president.

The installation for DPAM was curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm, director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

“Kathryn and I worked on an exhibition together at MCA Chicago in November 2015 called ‘Run for President’ exploring the roles of image, celebrity, and authority in selecting candidates. It seemed only fitting that we work together again on a project addressing the current presidential election,” Widholm said.

The title of the installation is the names of all 87 women featured: “Victoria Woodhull, Belva Ann Lockwood, Abigail Scott Duniway, Laura Clay, Cora Wilson Stewart, Gracie Allen, Anna Milburn, Ellen Linea Jensen, Mary Kennery, Agnes Waters, Margaret Chase Smith, Fay T. Carpenter Swain, Charlene Mitchell, Shirley Chisholm, Linda Jenness, Evelyn Reed, Bella Savitzky Abzug, Patsy Takamoto Mink, Margaret Wright, Barbara Jordan, Ellen McCormack, Deirdre Griswold, Koryne Kaneski Horbal, Maureen Smith, Alice Tripp, Gavrielle Holmes, Sonia Johnson, Martha Kirkland, Tonie Nathan, Mary Ruwart, Wynonia Burke, Lenora Fulani, Willa Kenoyer, Mamie Moore, Patricia Schroeder, Georgiana Doerschuck, Helen Halyard, Caroline Killeen, Gloria La Riva, Isabell Masters, Tennie Rogers, Susan Gail Ducey, Elvena Lloyd-Duffie, Marsha Feinland, Dr. Heather Anne Harder, Mary Cal Hollis, Jo Jorgensen, Mary “France” Letulle, Monica Moorehead, Diane Beall Templin, Cathy Gordon Brown, Angel Joy Chavis Rocker, Elizabeth Dole, Dorian Yeager, Katherine Bateman, Joanne Bier Beeman, Sheila Bilyeu, Carol Moseley Braun, Jeanne Chebib, Mildred T. Glover, Millie Howard, Carol A. Miller, Lorna Salzman, Florence Walker, Elaine Brown, Hillary Clinton, Nan Garrett, Cynthia McKinney, Christine Smith, Kat Swift, Roseanne Barr, Peta Lindsay, Jill Stein, Michele Bachmann, Khadijah Jacob-Fambro, Carly Fiorina, Alyson Kennedy, Lynn S. Kahn, Cherie Deville, Souraya Faas, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Kim Ruff, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson.”

About the artist

Kathryn Andrews was born in 1973 in Mobile, Alabama, and reveals the ways in which images and cultural symbols are rooted in the physical world, like other kinds of observable phenomena. She does so by channeling the legacies of pop art and minimalism.

Andrews’ work examines latent power dynamics in acts of desire and consumption, and addresses the implied violence of dominant image histories from a feminist perspective. She works in a variety of media, including sculpture, large-scale printmaking and performance. Andrews was the subject of the traveling solo exhibition “Kathryn Andrews: Run for President” at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas in 2016 and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in 2015.

Andrews lives and works in Los Angeles.

The installation will debut Sept. 7 and run through Dec. 20.

While inside galleries of the museum are closed through 2020, “Visitors can stop by outside, say hello and ask questions about project. We’ll be out there with masks on ready to talk about it,” de Lara said. 

Support for this exhibition was provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Rena and Daniel Sternberg.

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