twoColumn twoRight

#5WOMENARTISTS Cherry Vanilla

March 27, 2024


Since 2016, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has been asking this question on social media each March during Women's History Month. Using the hashtag #5WomenArtists, the campaign calls attention to the fact that women have not been treated equally in the art world, and today they remain dramatically underrepresented and undervalued in museums, galleries, and auction houses.

Each year, hundreds of cultural organizations and thousands of individuals take to social media to answer the challenge, sparking a global conversation about gender equity in the arts. This year, MOCA has chosen five women artists to join the conversation and highlight the amazing projects on view in the museum. 


Cherry Vanilla in the '70s

Cherry Vanilla

"It was always about creation -- inspiring it, rewarding it, being part of it, and mostly just rejoicing in the fruits of it." — Cherry Vanilla

Cherry Vanilla is an iconic performer, poet, and author. A fixture of the 1970s music scene, Vanilla is a native New Yorker who rose to fame after appearing in Andy Warhol’s 1971 play Pork. Her talent soon carried her across a variety of fields as she seamlessly balanced her acting career with stints in several bands including Kasim Sulton and Cherry Vanilla Band, all of which cemented her as a pioneer in the punk rock scene. Vanilla’s creativity extends into prose and poetry, as well. She wrote her own music and self-published the 1974 book Pop Tart Compositions in addition to writing her memoir Lick Me in 2010. 

Cover of Cherry Vanilla's book Pop TartInside the front cover of Cherry Vanilla's book Pop Tart

Vanilla self-published her book Pop Tart Compositions around the time she began her career as a performing poet. Following her years as a musician, she wrote for magazines internationally and worked on film projects with notable figures like jazz musician Chet Baker and fashion photographer Bruce Weber. Her notable work in business includes a stint as David Bowie’s publicist during the early 1970s, producing radio and television commercials, and overseeing Europa Entertainment, LLC. 

Proofs for Pop Tart Compositions are currently on display at MOCA Jacksonville as part of the exhibition A Walk on the Wild Side: ‘70s New York in the Norman E. Fisher Collection, which is on view through July 17, 2024. The exhibition is presented in connection to MOCA’s 100th anniversary and features other artists like Andy Warhol, Philip Glass, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Robert Mapplethorpe, and more.