One hundred years ago, the ratification of the 19th Amendment granted (some) women the right to vote. On Thursday, the Park Avenue Armory announced that it has invited 10 cultural institutions in New York City to commission 100 women artists to create new work that both celebrates and interrogates the history of women’s suffrage.
The project, called “100 Years | 100 Women,” was conceived of in partnership with National Black Theater and also involves Apollo Theater, the Juilliard School, La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, the Laundromat Project, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the Moving Image, National Sawdust, New York University and Urban Bush Women. Each will commission 10 artists.
The artists’ names will be announced on Feb. 15 as part of the Armory’s annual “Culture in a Changing America” symposium. The commissioned projects — which will include dance, film, photography, visual arts and performance — will be showcased in the Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall and reception rooms on May 16.
The image of women’s suffrage is often predominantly white and doesn’t usually recognize the work of women of color like Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Victoria Earle Mathews, Carie Langston Hughes, and Mabel Ping-Hua Lee — and indigenous women like Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin.
“Artists will be looking at who is missing in the picture to bring them forward and amplify their participation,” said Avery Willis Hoffman, program director at the Armory.
Sade Lythcott, chief executive of National Black Theater, said the project is an incredible opportunity. “This is our present pulse, our day to day mission: knocking down these walls and shining lights in the darkest corners of our own stories,” she said.
“100 Years | 100 Women” builds on the Armory’s conversation series, “Interrogations of Form,” which brings together artists, scholars, activists and community members.
Recent large-scale gatherings included “Black Artists Retreat 2019: Sonic Imagination,” in which more than 300 black artists and allies convened; a Lenape Pow Wow in 2018, the first gathering of Lenape leaders on Manhattan Island since the 1700s; and “The Shape of Things” a 2017 event focused on the political and social climate in America, curated by the former Armory artist-in-residence Carrie Mae Weems.