Aspen Art Museum becomes a women’s world |

Aspen Art Museum becomes a women’s world

Stewart Oksenhorn

The Aspen Art Museum is a female-friendly kind of place. With Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson taking over as director this summer, the museum’s entire full-time staff comprises women.And for the first part of the summer season, the walls themselves get a woman’s touch. Girls’ Night Out, installed in both of the museum’s galleries, features work by 10 contemporary artists, all women. And while the exhibit, curated by Elizabeth Armstrong and which showed first at the Orange County Museum of Art, tackles issues associated with the feminine side – especially self-reflection and identity – it is also strong in formal artistic elements. The show is confined to photography and video, two mediums in which women have emerged as leaders.What struck Armstrong most in assembling Girls’ Night Out was the number of notable women artists working in portraiture. More than half of the show’s artists offer some take on portraits, and collectively they present a broad perspective on the ancient genre.On the more emotional side are the U.K.’s Sarah Jones’ series of beautiful, dark-tinged images of women in various poses outdoors. More interested in probing the psyche is Finland’s Elina Brotherus, whose self-portraits are an exercise in intimate self-revelation and self-criticism. Combining formal beauty with psychological plumbing is another Finn, Salla Tykkä, whose series of photographs hint at her past struggles with anorexia, and women’s body issues.The show also contains several video installations, from Tykkä’s David Lynch-esque “Thriller” to Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra’s “The Buzzclub, Liverpool, U.K./Mysterworld, Zaandam, Netherlands, 1996-97,” a study in adolescent self-consciousness.Girls’ Night Out is at the Aspen Art Museum through July 24.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is