1984 Women Artists Protest Exclusion

I shot photographs at the first Women Artists Visibility Event (W.A.V.E.): The Museum of Modern Art Opens But Not To Women Artists, New York City, June 14, 1984. It was a protest organized by women artists, critics, curators, and historians in the New York City area to demonstrate against the underrepresentation of women artists in the exhibition of “International Survey of Painting and Sculpture,” at the Museum of Modern Art.

Despite the increased visibility of women artists by 1984, most were not included in mainstream gallery or museum exhibitions. When the museum opened the exhibition with great fan fare, of the 169 artists chosen, all were white and less than 10 percent were women. Women artists were incensed.

At the time, I was just becoming acquainted with the New York City art world and I’d learned about the demonstration from posters that had been plastered all over Soho.  Although the National Organization for Women (NOW) had been founded in 1966 and Ms. Magazine was first published in 1972, opportunities for women artists continued to be limited.

Included in the photographs are Lucy Lippard, May Stevens, Linda Cunningham, Emma Amos, Sabra Moore, Sharon Jaddis, and Alida Walsh.

Please let me know if you can identify some of the other people in the images, which are now archived at the Duke University Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.



  1. Maria Martinez-Canas · February 4, 2014

    Maria Elena Gonzalez is the woman on the right of your second image…

  2. Maria Martinez-Canas · February 4, 2014

    picture #16 – the guy with the spanish sign is Cuban painter Luis Cruz Azaceta…