'The Gallery Gap' Ep. 17: Midwest Women Artists: Collaboration + Determination

Dec 13, 2017

Melissa asks Claire about her recent experiences at the Biennial Midwest Artists Symposium, organized by the Illinois Women Artists Project (IWAP). Now in its fourth iteration, the symposium focused on Midwest women artists from the 1960s-1980s. 

Claire recaps the symposium sessions while highlighting collaborations and collectives that really stood out: long-time collaborative photographers Barbara Ciurej and Lindsey Lochtman, artist Jane Gilmor’s project Messages from the Homeless, the ARC Gallery (Chicago, IL), the Artemesia Gallery (formerly in Chicago, IL), and the collective AFRICOBRA (first the Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists, and later the African Commune Of Bad Relevant Artists).

Irma René Koen (American 1883-1975), Gloucester in Autumn, circa 1930, Oil on canvas. Collection of the Rock Island Public Library, donated by Irma René Koen, in honor of her father, Louis Kohn (April 1943).
Credit Photograph courtesy of the Figge Art Museum

In continuing their exploration for IWAP, Claire and Melissa next turn to an exhibition at the Figge, Irma René Koen: An Artist Rediscovered, which is on display through 2017.

Exhibition guest curator, Dr. Cynthia Wiedemann Empen was first drawn to the idea through her participation in the very first Midwest Women Artists Symposium, which was held in 2011. It was in researching for the symposium that Cynthia came across the artist Irma Rene Koen, a Rock Island native.

Hear from Cynthia, as well as Figge Associate Curator Vanessa Sage, as they reflect on the project’s creation and importance to the Figge’s exhibition plan.

Produced by Lacy Scarmana