These 20 Female Artists Are Pushing Sculpture Forward

Sculpture was once considered the domain of ambitious male artists, a medium as challenging in its physicality as it was limitless in scope. But for several decades, artists from Eva Hesse and Senga Nengudi to Phyllida Barlow and Ursula von Rydingsvard have carved a place for women working in contemporary sculpture. And in 2018, it’s arguably female artists who are creating some of the most interesting, challenging, and ambitious forms—freely taking the body apart, prodding taboos, and embracing the grotesque.

The eclectic group of 20 international sculptors highlighted here ranges from emerging to mid-career talents. What connections can we draw between them? There’s the extraordinary influence of Louise Bourgeois, for one—nearly half of these artists cited the late artist as one of their icons. Doris Salcedo looms large, too. Meanwhile, many of these practices underscore the fact that clay has comfortably reentered the artist’s toolbox, moving well beyond the realm of vessels to become a cutting-edge material—as capable as steel, wood, resin, and other materials in pushing boundaries and helping us to see the world anew.

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