'Women Up' programme goes digital

ROME – The National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to publish the ‘Women Up’ programme online, a six-year long programme celebrating women in art. 

  At g.co/womenup art enthusiasts can explore this inspiring collection with 139 digital stories and over 600 images and videos, highlighting the contributions of women to art. Online visitors can learn about more than 70 women artists, from photographer and painter Dora Maar (known as ‘Picasso’s muse) to German Dada artist Hanna Höch. 

  The exhibition investigates the issue of representation of women artists, with interviews of local people in Rome who are challenged to name women artists, as well as a reflection on the National Gallery’s own representation with a look at statistics on the presence of women artists in their collections.

  Users can also explore the gallery ‘in the words of women’ with audio stories from women philosophers, curators, art critics and professors reflecting on various masterpieces. Videos depict author and feminist Michela Murgia exploring the gallery, discussing themes such as desire, the body and violence from a woman’s perspective.

  The programme includes a notable digitalisation of the archive of Carla Lonzi - feminist, writer and art critic - best known as the cofounder of the Italian feminist collective Rivolta Feminile (Feminine Revolt). For the first time, users globally can view over 16,000 items online including photographs, writings, diary extracts, invitations and letters which trace the life and works of the Italian intellectual and how she shaped 20th century Italian Feminism and Art Criticism.

  Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, this programme is more accessible than ever. Their Optical Character Recognition technology has made it possible to automatically transcribe over 4,000 documents, and the Art Camera technology allows art to be digitalised in high definition for online viewing.

  The digital ‘Women Up’ programme encourages an increased representation of women artists in museums, with video interviews from ‘11 artists you need to know’. Director of The National Gallery, Cristiana Collu reflects on the importance of museums as a social institution which shape the way we view the world; she writes “Contributing to the visibility of women in museum exhibitions requires the introduction of new themes, new techniques and the development of different expository discourses and the use of participatory methods.”