Banner image for Let Yourself Continue

Let Yourself Continue

August 2020 marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. In commemoration of this event, the Grinnell College Museum of Art is presenting work by more than 50 women artists represented in the Museum of Art’s collection.

The 19th Amendment states, in part, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." It is perhaps ironic to celebrate such an achievement with this exhibition, the contents of which are abridged solely on account of sex, and we present it fully cognizant of this irony, in contrast to the countless exhibitions over the millennia that have been abridged of women participants without such awareness, or so much as a second thought.

The fight for women’s suffrage was arduous and long, and as we see in almost every struggle — particularly those that characterized the 20th century — a total victory, which may first appear clear and which gains its annual commemoration on our calendar, is rarely fully won. The common response is exclamatory, a call to arms: “The fight’s not over!” “We’ve still so far to go!” and “We’re not done yet!” All these battle cries are laudable and true, but we live in perilous times — a public health crisis; an economic crisis; a social justice crisis; and, looming ahead of us, a potential election crisis, in which the votes of American women will be more critical than at any time in the past 100 years. Many of us are steadfast at the barricades even as we speak, while others of us are nearly "fight"ed out.

Print by Faith Ringgold

The title of this exhibition comes from a New York Times interview, published on June 11, of the artist Faith Ringgold, who is one of the artists on view in this exhibition. 89 years old, widowed in February, then isolated in her New Jersey home for months by the pandemic, she speaks of her trouble finding footing and her voice amidst every day’s new bad news. “‘I’m just keeping my eyes wide open so I can find a point of view on all this,’ she said with a sigh. ‘I’ve been waiting for the inspiration that can help me inspire others.’” One way forward is found in her own words: “let yourself continue.” In today’s onslaught of chaos, there is the epic work — for security, equality and justice — and then there is the daily work: staying employed, staying engaged, staying well. The artists presented in this exhibition are not grouped to reflect complementary styles, unified pursuits, or collective actions, but to emphasize the individual voice of each as an artist. For the sake of visual harmony, and perhaps some discoverable affinities, however, we’ve arranged them according to a few themes, that may say something as well about the shape of our ever growing collection.

We hope this virtual exhibition will pique our audience’s interest in further exploring the Museum’s online database. We are constantly bringing more of the collection online, and hope to use this exhibition as an opportunity to fill out the story of each object via student, faculty staff and community research and insight.

— Daniel Strong, Associate Director and Curator of Exhibitions

Right: Faith Ringgold, American, b. 1930. To Be or Not to Be Free, 2014. Lithograph, 30 x 22 in. © Faith Ringgold. Grinnell College Museum of Art Collection.

Additional Media

  • Print by Sue Coe showing a subdued man in the foreground and an officer in the background

    Let Yourself Continue

    Sue Coe's "La Frontera"

    Students Shiva Bucklin '22 and Hua Lin Hsu '22 discuss artist Sue Coe's print, La Frontera, featured in the virtual exhibition, Let Yourself Continue.

  • Detail of a photograph by Catherine Opie of two surfers awaiting a wave off the California coast.

    Let Yourself Continue

    Explorations of Environment in the GCMoA Collection

    In this video, curator Daniel Strong speaks about the depiction of environments in the Grinnell College Museum of Art Collection.

  • Painting by Sonja Sekula

    Let Yourself Continue

    Professor Jenny Anger Talks About Artist Sonja Sekula

    In this video, Art History Department Chair and Professor Jenny Anger talks about works by Swiss painter Sonja Sekula included in the exhibition, Let Yourself Continue.

  • Print by Carrie Moyer

    Let Yourself Continue

    Abstract Art in the GCMoA Collection

    In this video, Curator Dan Strong talks about post-war abstract art, the art market, and the Museum of Art's collection.

  • "The Volunteers", a print by Käthe Kollwitz

    Let Yourself Continue

    Artists and Social Justice

    In this video, Dan will talk about artists in the exhibition, Let Yourself Continue, whose work focuses on social and political activism.

  • Print by Suzanne Valadon

    Let Yourself Continue

    Suzanne Valadon

    GCMoA invited members of our campus community to comment on works from the exhibition. In this video, we’ll hear from GCMoA Intern Kate Kwasneski ’21 as she talks about two prints by Suzanne Valadon.

    The exhibition is curated for fall 2020 at the Grinnell College Museum of Art by Daniel Strong, associate director and curator of exhibitions.

  • Print by Anna Gaskell

    Let Yourself Continue

    Introduction by Daniel Strong, Associate Director and Curator of Exhibitions

    Let Yourself Continue celebrates the centennial of the ratification of the Constitution's 19th Amendment, presenting works by more than 50 women artists from the Grinnell College Museum of Art’s collection. In this video you’ll hear curator Daniel Strong’s overview of the exhibition.

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