In 1971, museums in New York had just gone through a year of extreme turmoil, beginning with a massive protest: the New York Artists’ Strike Against Racism, Sexism, Repression, and War. The Vietnam War was very much in the news, racist repression continued in spite of the Civil Rights Movement, and the Women’s Liberation Movement had definitely arrived. Artists withdrew their works from exhibitions, demonstrating inside and outside of arts institutions, with some 500 artists staging a sit-in on the steps of the Met. The Whitney had been especially targeted for its “whiteness” and “maleness,” with activist artist Faith Ringgold leading some of the loudest protests during the 1969 Whitney Painting Biennial.
The Women: Mask Face Quilt #1
International Quilt Museum, Ardis and Robert James Collection