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Women Artists Take Over Seattle Art Museum

Marcie Sillman

Women are taking over the Seattle Art Museum. More specifically, women artists. This week SAM opens "Elles," a collection of women artists from the Pompidou Center in Paris.


Three years ago, the Pompidou Center decided it was time to reconsider its vast collection of contemporary art, one of the world's biggest. Millions of people visit the museum every year. Pompidou President Alain Seban says it was time to give those visitors a new way to think about art.

Seban: "It's important to pass on the idea that the history of art in the 20th century is not something that is finished, that is written once for all."

So, the Pompidou curators created "Elles," French for "She." The museum galleries showed only art made by such women as Frida Kahlo, Cindy Sherman and Louise Bourgeois, the sculptor who made the controversial fountain at Olympic Sculpture Park. Now, part of "Elles" is at Seattle Art Museum. Alain Seban says this is the first time it has left Paris.

Seban: "It hadn't been designed as a travelling exhibition. And the reason why we were convinced to bring it here to Seattle is because we sense such a strong enthusiasm from our colleagues from the SAM, and we really liked how they wanted to not just do a show of masterpieces from the Pompidou, but also revisit the presentation of their own permanent collection."

To complement the Pompidou show, Seattle curators have installed "Elles: SAM," women artists from SAM and from local modern art collectors. "Elles: Pompidou" is at Seattle Art Museum until January 13. "Elles: SAM" is up through mid–February.

I'm Marcie Sillman, KUOW News.

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