Mary Beth Edelson (b. 1933, Indiana, d. 20 April 2021) was a celebrated American artist, activist, and pioneer of the first-generation Feminist art movement. For the past 50 years she created iconic artworks – ranging from photography, painting, sculpture and drawing to performance, book/print making, collages and murals – often using her own body as canvas and subject matter. Edelson was the subject of a retrospective at Kunsthalle Münster (2018-19), and was the subject of a celebrated retrospective mounted by Malmö Kunstmuseum, Sweden, which traveled to Migros Museum, Zürich (2006), as well as the traveling retrospective “Shape Shifter: the Art of Mary Beth Edelson (1988-1990).” Edelson has had numerous solo shows internationally and was included in important survey exhibitions including “Painting 2.0,” Museum Brandhorst, Munich; “WACK! Art of the Feminist Revolution,” MOCA, Los Angeles; “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” New Museum, NY; “Greater New York 2015,” MoMA PS1, New York; “Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York; “Mothers of Invention,” Mumok Museum of Contemporary Art, Vienna; “Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-Plicit Art by Women,” David Zwirner Gallery, New York; and most recently “Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s: Works from the Verbund Collection,” the Photographers’ Gallery, London.
Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Walker Art Center, MN; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Malmö Kunstmuseum, Sweden; and Sammlung Verbund, Vienna, among others.