The Female Gaze: The Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women

March 27 – May 4, 2014

Featuring 77 Female Artists Including:
Gertrude Abercrombie
Joan Brown
Elizabeth Catlett
Diane Edison
Ellen Lanyon
Sarah McEneaney
Kiki Smith
June Wayne
Ann Agee
Judy Chicago
Viola Frey
Hung Liu
Alice Neel
Faith Ringgold
Joyce Treiman

Discover more female artists from this exhibition at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Hung Liu, "Visage II," 2004. Oil on Canvas. Photo credit: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Art by Women Collection, Gift of Linda Lee Alter.
Hung Liu, "Visage II," 2004. Oil on Canvas. Photo credit: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Art by Women Collection, Gift of Linda Lee Alter.

This exhibition presents 77 self-portraits and works of art exploring community and identity from the Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women, a collection of nearly 500 works of art by women donated to PAFA in 2010. Psychologically probing, emotionally revealing, confrontational, and funny self-portraits by Gertrude Abercrombie, Joan Brown, Elizabeth Catlett, Diane Edison, Ellen Lanyon, Sarah McEneaney, Kiki Smith, June Wayne, and others show the ways in which modern and contemporary artists have explored their appearances and interior lives. Works by Ann Agee, Judy Chicago, Viola Frey, Hung Liu, Alice Neel, Faith Ringgold, Joyce Treiman, and others meditate on how earlier generations impact the present and present generations bring the next into being. Works by Laylah Ali, Elizabeth Catlett, Hollis Sigler and others consider the effect of community support (or lack of it) in strengthening society or wearing away at individuals. Together the exhibition presents a strong collective voice from a wide range of artists who have had an impact on the ways artists approach selfhood and identity and whose work continues to provoke fascinating questions about society.  You can view the entire Linda Lee Alter collection online at


Hung Liu Gallery Visit:

On April 3, the Myhren Gallery hosted a VIP event around the Female Gaze exhibition, which was attended by many influential women in our community. The event (and show itself) is part of a year-long initiative to promote women artists — an initiative led by RedLine’s current show, “She Crossed the Line,” which features trailblazing contemporary female artists in five exhibitions throughout the year.

A prominent artist highlighted in “The Female Gaze” is Hung Liu, a Chinese-American artist who immigrated to the United States during the Cultural Revolution. Liu is presently a professor at Mills College in Oakland, California. She came to DU for a series of class workshops and presentations, and spoke at the VIP event at the gallery. Much of Liu’s work is inspired by a collection of photographs of everyday people lost to memory and the past. Her large-scale portraits are often marked by diluted tear-like drips — a rejection of her academic training in China. In her gallery talk, she spoke of the many road blocks she has had to overcome during the course of her career. While her work has been recognized with much acclaim now (her paintings are featured in the Met, the National Gallery, and the LACMA, to name a few), she openly acknowledged the hard work and multiple hurdles she had to overcome to get where she is today. She was both inspiring and humble in her brief talk, and spoke warmly of the other women artists in the exhibition, some of whom were personal friends. Liu, along with many of the artists in the show, is clearly part of a larger community of women who work collaboratively to challenge the traditionally male-dominated art world.