#MuseumStoreSUNDAY: Discovering Women


What do you do with your holiday time? I love museums and their stores almost as much as I love libraries. Going into an exhibit can feel like traveling to another place or another time and I always see things from a new perspective.

Lisa Niver and Joan Weinthal Clayton at NMWA

I recently went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts for the first time in Washington D.C. I specifically went there to see the new Judy Chicago exhibit, The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, to honor the memory of my mentor who recently died. It is a moving exhibit and the first room is an exploration of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief. The second room is personal musings on mortality and the third room focuses on creatures and communities like polar bears, Mexican gray wolves, orchids, bleached coral reefs, frogs, penguins and turtles. Habitat destruction and other environmental issues are bringing these animals and plants to the brink of extinction. The exhibit includes nearly 40 works of painted porcelain and glass, as well as two large bronze sculptures. The pieces are smaller in scale and include Chicago’s handwriting. It feels very personal almost like reading her journal. Chicago is asking us, now that you are faced with these realities, what are you willing to do?

Judy Chicago, How Will I Die? #2, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2015; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 9 x 12 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY
Judy Chicago, Smothered, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2016; Kiln-fired glasspaint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY
Judy Chicago, Collected, from The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2015–16; Kiln-fired glass paint on black glass, 12 x 18 in.; Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, NY

The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction photos courtesy of Judy Chicago

Joannie Parker, my mentor,  taught my high school Women’s Studies class about Judy Chicago and took us to see her installations including both The Dinner Party and The Birth Project. 

Lisa Niver and Judy Chicago at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery for Visionary Women Salon

Recently, I was able to meet Judy Chicago when she was in Los Angeles for the opening of her exhibit at The Jeffrey Deitch Gallery. Visionary Women hosted a salon in her honor with a discussion about women in art including Judy Chicago, Andrea Bowers and Connie Butler.

Video: Visionary Women Salon

Many of my best museum experiences have taught me about important women. Currently at the National Museum of American Jewish History on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, you can see Notorious RBG, a phenomenal exhibit about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I loved it so much I went twice when it was at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. I was inspired and saw both recent movies about her, read her book and wrote about her for The Female Quotient on her birthday.

Last year at the Skirball Cultural Center, I learned about Mexican-born, American Jewish writer Anita Brenner (1905–1974). I was spell-bound by the exhibit and her journey to becoming a journalist. I had never heard of her but learning about her life story helped me work think differently about some of my own issues with my career in journalism.

Lisa Niver, Penn Quaker and Rabbi Faith Dantowitz

In New York City, I visited The Jewish Museum with my friend from University of Pennsylvania, Rabbi Faith Dantowitz, and we even brought the PENN Quaker with us. We explored the exhibit: “Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art.” I had never heard of her and I was amazed to learn what she accomplished. 

I loved the story of how Halpert met and advised Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. She represented artists including Georgia O”Keeffe and worked to change her reputation that Steiglitz had immortalized. She believed folk art was important, helped her artists have their own exhibits and promoted racial integration. She was the first mainstream art dealer to represent an African American. When an artist she represented, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, who was a Japanese born painter, was labeled an enemy alien, she kept supporting him and made a retrospective of his work.

Whether you are looking for a new perspective on death and dying, or on your career aspirations, if you are interested in the path to becoming a Supreme Court Judge, or be the first to promote certain artists, or be exposed to people, places, experiences from the past and present in all different mediums, I highly recommend a visit to the museum!

I am so grateful to have recently seen carefully curated exhibits about Jewish women who have changed all our lives! Make sure to find your favorite exhibit in your home town or on your next travels. I wanted to share these stories today as it is Museum Store Sunday. You can learn more about art, nature, culture, science and history at a museum near you.

“On December 1, 2019, for the third consecutive year, more than 1,200 museum stores representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 18 countries, and five continents will offer inspired shopping at museums and cultural institutions during Museum Store Sunday – an exciting annual event and shopping campaign that encourages consumers and museum visitors to consciously contribute to the future sustainability and success of each museum and cultural institution.”

See this article also on the Jewish Journal

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have nearly 2 million views. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. https://bit.ly/m/lisaniver Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.7 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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