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#5WOMENARTISTS Sarah Charlesworth

March 21, 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. 


Profile image of Sarah Charlesworth

Sarah Charlesworth

"I don't think of myself as a photographer. I've engaged questions regarding photography's role in culture... but it is an engagement with a problem rather than a medium." — Sarah Charlesworth 

Sarah Charlesworth was a conceptual artist known for exploring the ubiquity of photographs. She was part of the Pictures Generation, which was a group of artists who came of age in the '70s and created work that both questioned and embraced pop culture and mass media. Her photographs are in the collections of notable museums across the globe, she has had over 40 solo exhibitions worldwide, and she has been a part of hundreds of group exhibitions

Charlesworth was born in 1947 in New Jersey. She studied photography under Lisette Model at The New School in New York, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College. After completing her studies, she worked as a freelance photographer. In 1975, she, along with a few fellow artists, founded the art theory magazine The Fox. In 1981, she co-founded the magazine BOMB



Charlesworth taught at the School of Visual Arts, New York University, and Hartford University. In 2012, she was appointed to the faculty of Princeton University. Previous student and mentee, Ben Handzo, recalls that what made her so special was her adoration for each of her students. Her teachings placed an emphasis on embracing technology in the creation of your work. Handzo explains her unique ability to balance technical decisions and conceptual choices in her critiques and the love with which those critiques were given 

Installation image of Face-Surface, a complete series of nine typographic lithographs by Sarah Charlesworth and Joseph KosuthCurrently at MOCA, you can see the work Face/Surface, which is a collaboration between Joseph Kosuth and Charlesworth that is a series of nine typographic lithographs. It is part of 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.