James Panero reviews the exhibition To Be a Lady: Forty-five Women in the Arts, curated by Jason Andrew, at at 1285 Avenue of the Americas Gallery, New York, on view through January 18, 2013.
Panero writes: "It’s too bad that the language of music cannot apply to visual art. We all know there’s a difference between a tenor and a soprano, yet we value them equally. In fact, opera is rather dull without both. The same holds true for the voices of painters or sculptors. With its concentration of abstract artists, 'To be a Lady' suggests, in particular, why women’s voices have been essential to the evolution of modernism. Even without pivotal figures on display like Helen Frankenthaler, the lady who made the men look like boys, 'To be a Lady' suggests how women have advanced an abstract language that is thankfully free of distracting male quavers. Without macho bluster, the works here can settle into contemplative, often symmetrical compositions."