JAN 22–MAR 13, 2022


Featuring works from Mills College Art Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition examines multiple feminist perspectives on women’s labor.

Curated by students in the Fall 2021 Museum Studies Workshop, Unseen: The Hidden Labor of Women highlights the traditionally under-recognized emotional, physical, and domestic work of women as caregivers, community organizers, professionals, and artists.

At a moment when Mills is transitioning away from its identity as an historically women’s college, Unseen celebrates the power and legitimacy of women’s experiences. Featured works examine the issue of beauty standards, including pieces by Adrianna Adams and Mildred Howard that speak to black women’s bodies, as well as a feminist reassessment of Mel Ramos’ pinups. The complicated role of motherhood and family are captured in several works, including a rarely-seen early drawing by Lynn Hershman Leeson. A wide variety of media are represented in the exhibition, from photography to works on paper, as well as paintings by Constance Jenkins Macky and Clark Hobart that were part of the museum’s founding collection from 1925.

The exhibition showcases pieces from MCAM’s holdings, including works by Adrianna Adams, Mary Cassatt, Ann Chamberlain, Imogen Cunningham, The Guerrilla Girls, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Clark Hobart, Mildred Howard, Kathe Kollwitz, Carmen Lomas Garza, Constance Jenkins Macky, Bill Owens, Mel Ramos, Beth Van Hoesen, and Elizabeth Ginno Winkler.

Unseen also features new acquisitions by contemporary artists associated with NIAD Art Center in Richmond, California, a progressive art studio for adult artists with developmental disabilities. The recent additions to MCAM’s collection are part of a newly launched student acquisition project to identity, research, and justify specific artworks that help diversify the museum's permanent collection.

Unseen: The Hidden Labor of Women is curated by Olivia Olson-Roberts, Susan Prier, Mollie Schottstaedt, and Jenny Varner. The exhibition is accompanied by a digital catalogue featuring original scholarship by the students.

Last Updated: 4/18/24