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In February 2020, the Weisman Art Museum will present Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection, the first retrospective and monograph devoted to Harriet Bart, a pioneering artist whose powerful and varied conceptual installations and national and international exhibitions have made unique creative contributions to contemporary American art.

Harriet Bart, Enduring Afghanistan (detail), 2008 – 2015, dog tags, ball chain, chain link, vintage ledger, ink on paper, Koran stand, steel table. Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Gift of the Driscoll Babcock Galleries, New York, and the artist, Minneapolis, 2015.

Bart’s work addresses urgent contemporary issues: the devastations of war, the complexities of memorialization, the emotional dimensions of space, the gendering of labor. This exhibition reflects on art’s ability to protect and transform, to expand our capacity for empathy, and to sensitize us to histories we might otherwise forget.

This exhibition locates Bart—a co-founding member of the important feminist art collective the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota—as a leading multidisciplinary, conceptual artist to emerge during the historic shifts in 1970s art.

Featuring approximately 100 objects, the exhibition includes fiber works, paintings, sculptures, prints, artists books, and multimedia installations. A newly commissioned installation that evokes the ancient Jewish tradition of geniza, the practice of safeguarding written texts that might otherwise be discarded, will also be featured.

Harriet Bart, “Caged History,” 1995, mixed media. The Jewish Museum, New York, Gift of the artist, 1996.

Bart’s work represents movements that have inspired her: fiber art, feminism, Conceptualism, Minimalism, and Jewish mysticism. She distills the complex ideas and histories that inform her practice into spare, beautiful objects and installations that express a singular vision and originality.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication—edited by exhibition curator Dr. Laura Wertheim Joseph and featuring contributions from authors from across disciplines.

Additional contributors include: Betty Bright, Stephen Brown, Robert Cozzolino, Elizabeth Erickson, Heather Everhart, Nor Hall, Matthea Harvey, Joanna Inglot, Eric Lorberer, Jim Moore, WAM senior curator Diane Mullin, Samantha Rippner, Joan Rothfuss, John Schott, 신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin, and Susan Stewart. See a full list of contributors here >>>


The exhibition and catalog are generously supported by individual donors and through a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts.