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(Washington Post) ‘Women Who Rock’ traveling exhibit comes to the National Museum of Women in the Arts


The most memorable items in the “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts aren’t the sequined, barely there or beehived looks of Britney Spears, Cher and the B-52’s. They aren’t the Gibson L-5 guitar of country artist Mother Maybelle Carter, or the Epiphone electric of rocker Joan Jett.

It’s not just aggressive semiotics or evocative instruments that most move visitors. It’s everyday tools and quotes that tell stories of a get-out-the-house-and-hit-it work ethic. It’s the 1963 Lesley Gore (“You Don’t Own Me”) suitcase that looks like a makeup case but was a gift from Quincy Jones to carry her musical scores. Or the Lady Gaga quote that reads, “They can’t scare me, if I scare them first.”

These are places in the exhibit that are powerful as expressions of how the music is made and packaged, and how it’s negotiated — not merely with record industry executives, such as Aretha Franklin’s notes from a contract meeting with Clive Davis — but even more urgently with the culture.


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