In 1999, during a major retrospective at the Missoula Art Museum, Miriam Schapiro (1923-2015) visited MATRIX Press and created eight etchings using handmade bonnets, doilies, and antimacassars. The resulting suite, Anonymous was a Woman, honors the labor of women whose names are lost to history, their handmade items having been relegated to “crafts” rather than artworks. Calling attention to the unassuming traditions associated with women, these prints celebrate women’s creativity and traditional art forms, critique the institutions that limit and trivialize women’s experiences, and promote a sense of identity, solidarity, and significance. In the 18 years since Schapiro’s residency, MAM and MATRIX Press have collaborated on numerous exhibitions, residencies, and lectures. MAM has collected more than two dozen MATRIX editions that have come from this collaboration, including Anonymous Was a Woman, which recognizes the ongoing work of women artists, as well as the fruitful MAM/MATRIX partnership.
Image: Miriam Schapiro, Anonymous Was a Woman III: Pineapple, softground etching, 17 1/2 x22 inches, 1999, MAM collection.