Returning to Cleveland Museum of Art for "Picturing Motherhood Now"

Blog Date
Julie Smith
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

Cleveland Museum of Art YouTube Video: Picturing Motherhood Now - Spoken Word: Siaara Freeman
Listen as poet Siaara Freeman expresses an original poem on the meaning of motherhood inspired by the exhibition Picturing Motherhood Now. Reserve tickets today: #MotherhoodNow

"... reimagine the possibilities for representing motherhood" - . . . You can't experience the depth of Picturing Motherhood Now by looking at photos on a website. You must see it in person to not only study the artwork closely, but also to read the messages that accompany the artwork. I know that I will need to return again to the museum to see the pieces I missed, and to look again at the artwork I found interesting.

The paragraph above is from the blog post that Stuart wrote after attending the Thursday, October 14, 2021, Picturing Motherhood Now Media & Influencer Event and Members Preview Party, where he knew that he would need to use our Cleveland Museum of Art membership benefit to return to see the exhibition again. This blog post includes our @sos_jr tweets and retweets sharing photos from our visit to Picturing Motherhood Now on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Please retweet those those that have information that you want to share with your followers.

Stuart enjoyed his return visit, especially since he was joined by Julie, who brought new insight to this motherhood exhibition. To learn more about the Picturing Motherhood Now exhibition, please also read Stuart's blog post from his first visit:



Steven Litt's October 17, 2021, Review of Picturing Motherhood Now

I read Steven Litt's article as I was working on this blog post. I loved where he wrote "Motherhood might sound like a sappy, apple-pie topic . . .  but in the hands of the Cleveland Museum of Art, it’s an incendiary bomb." The exhibition did not fit my preconception, because, as Steven Litt wrote: This is no longer your grandmother’s art museum."

I had read about the exhibition before attending, and read descriptions of the artwork while attending, but Steven Litt's article takes it to the next level. As I wrote above, I know I need to see the exhibition again.

If you can only attend once, I highly recommend reading Steven Litt's review of the exhibition before you go. But what I really recommend is to see the exhibition first without reading his article, and then read it closely before you visit the exhibition a second time. You may see it from a different perspective!

After attending the opening preview, Stuart read Steven Litt's article about the exhibition and wrote how he would "highly recommend reading Steven Litt's review," since it would give insight to the deeper meaning of the artwork. Julie followed Stuart's advice, and was so glad that she read Steven Litt's Review of Picturing Motherhood Now, since she felt that she got more out of the exhibition because she read it:



Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - Our Tour of Picturing Motherhood Now

Responding to our time, Picturing Motherhood Now brings together works by a diverse range of contemporary artists who reimagine the possibilities for representing motherhood. Drawing on a range of feminisms, it challenges familiar archetypes of motherhood, construing motherhood as a multivalent term. The artists in Picturing Motherhood Now use motherhood as a lens through which to examine contemporary social issues—the changing definitions of family and gender, the histories and afterlives of slavery, the legacies of migration, and the preservation of matrilineal Indigenous cultures.

Picturing Motherhood Now focuses on art made in the past two decades, while integrating work by significant pioneers to narrate an intergenerational and evolving story of motherhood.

Picturing Motherhood Now includes work by: Mequitta Ahuja, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Firelei Báez, Louise Bourgeois, Carolina Caycedo, Andrea Chung, Zackary Drucker, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Aaron Gilbert, Mona Hatoum, Titus Kaphar, Mary Kelly, M. Carmen Lane, My Barbarian, Jordan Nassar, Alice Neel, Senga Nengudi, Aliza Nisenbaum, Catherine Opie, Jasmeen Patheja, Wendy Red Star, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Anri Sala, Jacolby Satterwhite, Patricia Satterwhite, Rose B. Simpson, Kaari Upson, Carrie Mae Weems, D’Angelo Lovell Williams and Carmen Winant.

Listen to a spoken word piece inspired by the exhibition:

Our tour started in the Cleveland Museum of Art's Ames Family Atrium, with the spider sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, before heading to the lower floor to enter the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Gallery.




It was great to visit the exhibition with only few people in the gallery, since it enabled us to look at each piece of artwork closely.


Evelyn Burnett

. . . something I've dreaded my whole life. I weep at just the thought of losing my mother. Because their presence was so profound, they are a part of you.

One of the most powerful parts of Picturing Motherhood Now is the Community Voice messages from some of Greater Cleveland's women leaders. Julie found the message shared by Evelyn Burnett very moving!

Evelyn Burnett (@evburnett) is the co-counder & CEO of ThirdSpace Action Lab (@3rdSpaceCLE), and board chair of Birthing Beautiful Communities (@BirthNBeautiful).

Birthing Beautiful Communities (BBC), a 501c3 non-profit, is a community of birth workers, or doulas, primarily providing social support to pregnant women at highest risk for infant mortality during the perinatal period.

Read Evelyn Burnett's (@evburnett) full Community Voice message in the image in the following tweet:


Julie brought to Stuart's attention some of the photographs hidden within the larger Still You Bloom in This Land of No Gardens artwork by Njideka Akunyili Crosby. We recommend that, when you visit the exhibition, you take some time to look at all the artwork both from a distance and then up close.




Be sure to read the "Community Voice" messages that accompany some of the artwork, since they add personal, local stories.

Evelyn Burnett (@evburnett), who added her insight to Not My Burden, is the Birthing Beautiful Communities board chair. I wanted to be sure to include information in this blog post about the lifesaving work of Cleveland's Birthing Beautiful Communities . . .
Please learn more about their work on the Birthing Beautiful Communities website at:







Thank you to all the local women who added their voice to this exhibition!



 Motherhood Across Time Tour with the ArtLens App

Turn your smartphone into a pocket guide to the CMA with the ArtLens App. Use it as a companion within the museum, or as a way to explore and create from home. The app is a resource before, during, and after a visit to the museum, or for anywhere you are. Download before arriving, plan your visit, and create or browse tours. While visiting, use the interactive map as a guide to navigate the museum, and keep track of your favorite artworks. After your visit, explore even more of the CMA, including the Open Access collection.

Check out this tour at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Take the tour "Collection Connections: Motherhood across Time" via #artlens: [NOTE: this link will open the ArtLens App tour on your smartphone.]

After our visit to Picturing Motherhood Now, we saw a display about the Cleveland Museum of Art's Motherhood Across Time tour in the area adjacent to the Ames Family Atrium. This tour takes you through the museum's collection to discover other works of art related to motherhood. Download the ArtLens App to learn more about museum tours.




Shared By Others on Twitter

The following are tweets from others about the Cleveland Museum of Art's Picturing Motherhood Now exhibition. Please be sure to retweet those that you think have interesting information so that others will learn about the exhibition.

. . . I would also like to go back before they close the exhibit . . . thinking about buying myself a membership to the museum . . .

It is so great to read on Twitter that journalist and style blogger, Silk "LADY SILK" Allen (@AlltheFlyThings), enjoyed the Picturing Motherhood Now exhibition, and now plans on returning to see it again. She may even get herself a Cleveland Museum of Art membership for her birthday!


Learn more about Silk "LADY SILK" Allen (@AlltheFlyThings) from the link to her blog in the following tweet:


#picturingmotherhoodnow is one of the most powerful exhibits I've seen.  Go check it out + thanks for keeping folks in the know @sos_jr!

Thank you to Evelyn Burnett (@evburnett) for sharing our @sos_jr tweet from our tour of the exhibition:


 Thank you, @evburnett, for sharing our October 20, 2021, blog post Cleveland Museum of Art "Picturing Motherhood Now" -- Preconception vs. Actuality in her following tweet:


Wondering who made those cool promotional videos for @Clevelandmuseumofart, Picturing Motherhood Now exhibit? . . .

The Picturing Motherhood Now promotional videos that we included in this blog post were created by S&P WorkLab (@SP_WorkLab).

Be sure to see the Cleveland Museum of Art YouTube Channel for more videos at:



Related Blog Posts

We always like to end our posts with a list of related blog posts:

We have written so many blog posts about the Cleveland Museum of Art that it is best that you just see them all by pulling up all the posts tagged with:

Also, if you are interested in reading more art related blog posts, please see our 77 other blog posts tagged "Art"

Within the blog posts about the Cleveland Museum of Art are 12 blog posts tagged "ArtLens" about our use of the ArtLens App or our visits to the ArtLens Gallery. Note that the oldest blog post is from 2012 -- yes, the ArtLens Gallery (which used to be called Gallery One) will be ten years old in December of this year!!! Four blog posts we recommend reading to learn the history are:

Thank you for reading our blog post. You can learn about our travel journeys and the venues we explore in Cleveland and Akron at: