The Women Who Made Modern Art

Curious Minds Speaker Series
  • collage of two women and a painting of a landscape


Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Mon, Jan 30, 2023 1:00 PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Mon, Feb 6, 2023 1:00 PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Mon, Feb 13, 2023 1:00 PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Mon, Feb 27, 2023 1:00 PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Mon, Mar 6, 2023 1:00 PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Mon, Mar 13, 2023 1:00 PM
Film Info


Mondays, January 30 - March 13, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM | REGISTER NOW

Not ready to commit? Single tickets are available at the box office on the day of class.

*Please note, there is no class on Monday, February 20th due to the Family Day civic holiday.

We have a mandatory masking policy (except while eating or drinking) for all in-person Curious Minds courses.

Relegated for too long to the sidelines of art history, women artists have been integral to the story of modern art. In this new series from Curious Minds favourite Barbara Isherwood (The Great Photographers, The Art of Picasso), we will explore—and celebrate—the achievements of those determined women who surmounted numerous obstacles to realize their creative visions.

From the soaring artworks of cultural icons like Georgia O'Keeffe, Emily Carr, Frida Kahlo and Yoko Ono, to the rich contributions of previously under-recognized artists whose legacies are finally being acknowledged, prepare to be amazed! Meet the inspiring women who made modern art.

This series is led by art critic and art historian Barbara Isherwood, the host of ArtSync TV and a frequent lecturer at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto. An energetic educator who brings infectious passion and clear-eyed analysis to history’s greatest artworks, Barbara has led the popular Curious Minds courses The Art of Picasso, The Great Old Masters, The Great Photographers and The Art of Living: The History of Interior Design.

Promotional Partner: Women's Art Association of Canada

Course Registration: $69 (Hot Docs Members: $60, $48, Free)

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January 30: Modernist Pioneers

We kick off our series by meeting the adventurous women who invented modern art. Highlights include Georgiana Houghton, spiritualist and creator of arguably the first abstract paintings; Natalia Goncharova, leader of Russian Constructivism; Georgia O'Keeffe, forerunner of modernism in North America; and Emily Carr, whose revolutionary landscapes shocked residents in her hometown of Victoria, BC!

February 6: Many Modernisms

Women in the interwar period made vital contributions to every facet of modern art. Our survey includes Kathleen Munn, one of Canada's first abstract painters, Barbara Hepworth, leader the St Ives artists colony, Loïs Mailou Jones, who expressed the vibrant spirit of the Harlem Renaissance, trailblazing architect Lina Bo Bardo, and International Style maverick Charlotte Perriand.

February 13: Surrealism - The Muse Answers Back

Refusing to be relegated to the passive subject of the male gaze, women Surrealists brought distinctive energies to their explorations of the unconscious. We'll explore such artists as Meret Oppenheim, the occult-inspired images of Ithell Colquhoun, the alchemical images of Remedios Varo, the uncanny ‘innerscapes’ of Kay Sage and Frida Kahlo, plus much more!

February 27: Postwar to Pop Art

As Europe rebuilds and North American consumer culture ramps up, women artists respond. French sculptor Germaine Richter gave voice to postwar anxiety, while British artist Bridget Riley invented Op Art. In North America Janet Sobel's drip paintings of inspired Abstract Expressionism, Diane Arbus photographed the underbelly of mid-century America and Joyce Weiland put a Canadian stamp on Pop Art.

March 6: Progressive Paths

Women's Lib and university fine arts programs lead ever more women to the global avant-garde. Eve Hesse made Process Art using unconventional materials, while Judy Chicago honoured once-scorned craft-based materials. In Brazil, Lygia Clark broke new ground with Neo-Concretism, Venezuelan Gego “drew” ethereal sculptures in wire, and India's Nasreen Mohamedi produced cutting edge abstraction.

March 13: Beyond Boundaries

Female artists were early adopters of space age materials, and created landmarks of Performance, Land, Conceptual and Identity Art. Discover why John Lennon was so keen to meet Yoko Ono, and how Helen Pashgian made art from industrial plastics. Explore Ana Mendieta’s innovative fusion of Land and Body Art, Marta Minujín's provocative installations, and see how Daphne Odjig fused western and aboriginal elements to create a new indigenous modern art.