Sheldon Museum of Art



Date of this Version



Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, November 2010- July 2011.


All images are copyright by the original artists. Publication copyright 2011 The Regents of the University of Nebraska


This reinstallation of the permanent collection galleries continues Sheldon's focus on American women artists, The fact of women's historical exclusion from the art world provides a basis for our exploration, In a 1971 essay, art historian Linda Nochlin famously asked, "Why have there been no great women artists)" She detailed various exclusions women suffered-from working with male nude models, hence from apprenticeships, then art professions and academies, to which we add commercial gallery exhibitions, art criticism, and art history. Over the centuries, this vicious cycle has shaped the current phenomenon: the predominance of male artists in museum collections.

The expression " better half" historically referred to a wife or lover, acknowledging the significance of an unnamed woman by a man, "Better twelfth" refers to the approximate fraction of works in the collection by female artists. The exhibition celebrates the productivity of women artists-primarily 20thcentury artists-by offering a selection of them in our galleries, allowing us to consider who is still missing from the collection, The installation is organized into six sections: work by pioneering artists, ceramics, printmaking, photography, and paintings both representational and abstract.