CMA Stories

From a Muted Portrait of Wonder Woman by Karen Mainenti to a Large-Scale Work by Abstract Painter Cecily Brown: 6 Feminist Artworks on View During CMA’s Art Auction

E.V. Day’s boundary-breaking and glass-shattering exhibition Breaking the Glass Ceiling wrapped up at the end of October, but we are excited to keep the feminist spirit alive through our annual Art Auction exhibition, which raises critical funds for CMA’s free Community Programs for underserved children and families.

Below, learn about six outstanding female artists who generously donated their artwork to our auction. Bidding on Artsy concludes on November 6, and the artwork will remain on view in CMA’s Cynthia C. Wainwright Gallery through December 8.

Gina Beavers

New York-based artist Gina Beavers’ work perfectly encapsulates our contemporary culture of self-fashioning on social media. Her lush images are inspired by social media trends such as makeup tutorials and the compositions that frame them on Instagram. Elevating quotidien female culture to high art in her work, Beavers celebrates the often dismissed craftsmanship and artistic eye of women’s cosmetic experiments: “When I started with these paintings I was really thinking that this painting is looking at you while it is painting itself … It’s also interesting because the terms that makeup artists use on social media are painting terms. The way they talk about brushes or pigments sounds like painters talking shop.” Bid Now

Cecily Brown

“I’ve always wondered, what is so masculine about abstraction? How did men get the ownership over this?” Artist Cecily Brown achieved art-world stardom for her abstract paintings during a time when the Abstract Expressionist movement was notoriously dominated by male artists, despite the fact that many groundbreaking women painters were also creating work in the abstract tradition. You can view Brown’s artwork in the stairwell of MoMA PS1. Initially installed as part of Vertical Paintings in 1977, Brown’s signature pastel abstractions are now part of the museum’s long-term installations. Bid Now

Karen Mainenti

In response to revelations about the “secret life” of Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston, New York-based artist Karen Mainenti “muted” the normally bright colors of the comic book icon. Drawn to the ways in which contemporary culture commercializes femininity, Mainenti’s current exhibition, Message in a Bottle at Brooklyn’s Ground Floor Gallery, transforms the space into an upscale beauty boutique experience, complete with altered versions of cosmetics, advertising and signage. Bid Now

Amanda Manitach

Amanda Manitach’s smudged colored-pencil drawings on Victorian wallpaper are a feminist reclamation of both the decorative arts and the psychology of women whose feelings and works were long confined by societal limitations. Manitach describes her artwork as “sorting out the experience of a female trying to make expressive marks” and often draws and rubs in words set against delicate patterns and block prints. Bid Now

Vanessa German

Self-taught artist Vanessa German is a poet, photographer, performer, and sculptor who learned about the transformative power of art when her mother — a renowned fiber artist — encouraged her five children to create their own stories and make art to entertain themselves. In the decades since, German’s sculptural work frequently includes female forms that she calls “power figures,” often fashioned from found and donated materials. In addition, she operates a community art space in her Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood. Bid Now


Mixed media artist Swoon created the print “Birth” as a reaction to the marginalization of mothers in the workforce and in response to the lack of art depicting pregnancy in the art world. In 2014, Swoon mounted Submerged Motherlands at the Brooklyn Museum, a site-specific installation that transformed the museum’s rotunda gallery into a fantastic landscape that included sculpted boats and rafts, figurative prints and drawings, and cut paper foliage. Bid Now

Purchase tickets to the Gala here and place your bid via Artsy.

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