Between Empowerment and Crisis: Images of Motherhood from 1900 to Today


Between Empowerment and Crisis: Images of Motherhood from 1900 to Today

Event Type



Linz, Austria

Curatorial Statement

Super mom or childless? It almost looks as if there were no such thing any longer as motherhood pure and simple, as if all that is left is the choice between perfectionism and resignation. Nevertheless, motherhood has many aspects: joy, an intense experience of life, love relationship, learning, exultation, on one hand, and, on the other, frustration, being weighed down by expectations and the fear of being inadequate to the task. Until the 19th century motherhood was never called into question even if in actual reality the rewards often fell woefully short of projected ideals. It was only the advent of career openings for women that created alternatives to motherhood as a fulfilled life. Pregnancy, birth, abortion, life with children, the decision against children, the struggle of children with their mothers – all these themes have their place in art. Nor did we have to wait for 1960s feminist art to produce realistic portrayals of the mother’s role but fi nd renderings of social reality and individual conflicts already as early as the beginning of the 20th century. The exhibition showcases not only shifts in the stereotypes of motherhood from 1900 to today but also the changes in the perspective from which children see their mothers. It calls into question the optimisation logic of today’s life designs and nurtures the hope of change: an ever greater number of women with children opt out of the complex, often stressful regime of everyday life, refusing to accept their life world between career, children and consumption as preordained or God-given.


Uli Aigner
Ed Alcock
Iris Andraschek
Robert Angerhofer
Siegfried Anzinger
Tina Barney
Max Beckmann
Charlotte Berend-Corinth
Werner Berg
Renate Bertlmann
Margret Bilger
Herbert Boeckl
Louise Bourgeois
Candice Breitz
Arthur Brusenbauch
Heinrich Campendonk
Hans Canon
Elinor Carucci
Sevda Chkoutova
Larry Clark
Lovis Corinth
Wilhelm Dachauer
Carola Dertnig
Rineke Dijkstra
Otto Dix
Nathalie Djurberg
Béatrice Dreux
Diane Ducruet
Miriam Elia
Anton Faistauer
Lucian Freud
Fritz Fröhlich
Aldo Giannotti
Burt Glinn
Lea Grundig
Johannes Grützke
Ernst Haas
Conny Habbel
Maria Hahnenkamp
Keith Haring
Karl Hartung
Karl Hauk
Carry Hauser
Gottfried Helnwein
Hannah Höch
Axel Johannessen
Birgit Jürgenssen
Mary Kelly
Josef Kern
Franz Kimm
Gustav Klimt
Max Klinger
Kiki Kogelnik
Oskar Kokoschka
Silvia Koller
Broncia Koller-Pinell
Käthe Kollwitz
Julia Krahn
Johannes Krejci
Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller
Alfred Kubin
Maria Lassnig
Leigh Ledare
Erich Lessing
Switbert Lobisser
Baltasar Lobo
Lea Lublin
Elena Luksch-Makowsky
Karin Mack
Christian Macketanz
Hans Makart
Jeanne Mammen
Matthias May
Jonathan Meese
Georg Merkel
Larry Miller
Gabi Mitterer
Paula Modersohn-Becker
Marie-Louise von Motesiczky
Ron Mueck
Otto Mueller
Alice Neel
Shirin Neshat
Max Oppenheimer
Florentina Pakosta
Rebecca Paterno
Pablo Picasso
Margot Pilz
Hanna Putz
Paula Rego
Rudolf Ribarz
Annerose Riedl
Frenzi Rigling
Franz Ringel
Ulrike Rosenbach
Judith Samen
Hansel Sato
Egon Schiele
Zineb Sedira
Ulrika Segerberg
Kiki Smith
Annegret Soltau
Viktoria Sorochinski
Daniel Spoerri
Sarah Sudhoff
Viktor Tischler
Paloma Varga Weisz
Borjana Ventzislavova mit Mirsolav Nicic und Mladen Penev
Nurith Wagner-Strauss
Andy Walde
Alfons Warhol
Gillian Wearing
Helene Winger-Stein
Anna Witt
Judith Zillich


23 October 2015 to 21 February 2016



Between Empowerment and Crisis: Images of Motherhood from 1900 to Today,” Artist Parent Index , accessed July 15, 2024,

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