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'She Persists' at Gracie Mansion celebrates a century of female artists

Artists such as Diane Arbus, Guerilla Girls, Cindy Sherman and Faith Ringgold will be featured in an exhibit honoring women's suffrage.

Gracie Mansion is celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage with the largest art exhibition in the mansion's history.

"She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York City" will encompass 60 works of more than 40  artists, such as Diane Arbus, Cecily Brown, Guerilla Girls, Lee Krasner, Cindy Sherman and Faith Ringgold — who have all had formative experiences in New York City, according to the mayor's office.

The 60 pieces of artwork, including paintings, sculpture, film, photography, craft and design, will be divided into four themes: "Contending with history," "Body as a battleground," "Picturing people" and "Expanding abstraction," with the intention of looking forward while honoring the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote on June 4, 1919.

"Ranging from the earliest years of the 20th century to the present, these works tell the story of women's tenacious endurance, and the ways that women artists have persistently used their art as platforms for dialogue about feminism and women's rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, AIDS awareness, immigration and gentrification," said curator Jessica Bell Brown in a statement.

First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Gracie Mansion Conservancy are putting the exhibit on in a time of renewed attention to women in arts and politics and in tandem with the city's "She Built NYC" program to erect monuments to important New York women, according to a news release.

The exhibit's title was inspired by the feminist rallying cry that started after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said "nevertheless, she persisted" about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's "lengthy" criticism of attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2017, the release says.

"I'm excited that we are beginning this new year with 'She Persists,' a powerful exhibit of artists who are all women and exceptional, and displayed on the walls of Gracie Mansion for the very first time," McCray said in a statement. "Because these women were viewed as having lesser value than men, and even lesser value if they were women of color, how and why their work was created has additional significance. It is important that their personal stories and struggles are front and center, along with their art."

If you go: Tours run every Monday starting Feb. 4 at Gracie Mansion (East 88th Street and East End Avenue) and are open to the public for free. To schedule one, check out nyc.gov.

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