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July 28-October 18, 2003

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Yale University
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT

The exhibition area is open to the public Monday through Thursday
8:30 a.m.—8:00 p.m.
Fridays 8:30 a.m.—5:00 p.m.
Saturdays 10:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m.

September 10, 4:00 PM
Battell Chapel
Reading and Lecture by Alice Walker
Reception to follow at the Beinecke Library
Sponsored by the Beinecke Library
and the Women Faculty Forum

October 1, 5:15 PM
at the Beinecke Library
Mina, Marianne, Maxine, and More:
A Collegium Musicum Series Event

Performance of new compositions
for texts by Mina Loy,
Marianne Moore, Maxine Kumin,
and other women represented in the
Beinecke Library’s archival collections

October 15, 4:00 PM
at the Beinecke Library
The Smiles of the Extravagant Crowd: Examining the Photographs of
Carl Van Vechten

Lecture by Professor Marianne LaFrance,
Psychology and
Women’s and Gender Studies
Sponsored by the Beinecke Library
and the Women Faculty Forum

October 21, 4:00 PM
at the Beinecke Library
Reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
Jorie Graham

All events are free and open to the public

For more information,
contact Nancy Kuhl

American women played remarkable and remarkably varied roles in the fine and performing arts in the United States and abroad throughout the twentieth century. Intimate Circles: American Women in the Arts explores the lives of women—writers, artists, publishers, performers, collaborators, and community builders—whose energies set in motion lasting aesthetic and cultural practices. The women portrayed here lived primarily in the late-nineteenth through the mid- twentieth centuries, an era identified with modernization, urbanization, and mechanization. Theirs was a period of tremendous social upheaval as well, when racial divisions lead to both increasingly violent riots and increasingly vocal activism among African-American communities and when a newly formed women’s movement sought suffrage, birth control, and economic independence for American women. The art world also faced major changes as new modern and abstract art forms emerged. Intimate Circle explores networks of women shaping and defining the artistic movements of the period.

Intimate Circles examines the careers and lives not only of the most celebrated American women, but also those of less familiar women. Because the range of American women’s contributions to the arts has been vast, Intimate Circles celebrates the behind-the-scenes accomplishments of editors and publishers, collectors, patrons, curators, critics, educators, partners, biographers, and arts advocates along with those of artists, writers, and performers. Though undervalued and sometimes out of sight, women’s work often drove their artistic and intellectual communities.

Because of the importance of place and community in the lives and work of these women, the exhibition uses geography as an organizing principle, highlighting how a common landscape united vastly different artists in New York City and Harlem, Chicago, the American Southwest, and Paris. These groups were somewhat fluid, and women in one circle often had significant connections to those in another; the aesthetic and social values of artistic communities were inevitably influenced by these relationships and exchanges. In this way, circles defined by intimacy, influence, or imaginative vision were not fixed, but continually shifted throughout the century, creating new artistic collaborations, allegiances, and rivalries.

The women represented in Intimate Circles, through their art, lives, and legacies, have made possible the conditions of encounter that are so essential to the growth and development of creative and intellectual communities. Intimate Circles: American Women in the Arts celebrates the vision, intellect, power, and talent of women whose roles in shaping culture and the arts in their era and in our own cannot be overstated as we begin to develop a richer and more complete understanding of the artistic and cultural history of the United States.