Washington, D.C. – From celebrated furniture and textiles to the latest in architecture and web designs, the more than 200 objects in the exhibition Nordic Cool: Hot Women Designers are among the best examples of beautiful and functional designs created in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The exhibition is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) and will be on view from April 23 to Sept. 12, 2004. It will include both designers who have changed the course of decorative arts and those who are currently making contributions to contemporary design.

“A strong tradition of gender equality in the Nordic countries has given women access to educational opportunities, apprenticeships, and directorial positions in design industries,” commented NMWA Director Judy L. Larson, who conceived of the exhibition and is its co-curator. “This exhibition encourages the understanding of design within the context of culture and gender, presenting works of great beauty in a sociological setting.”

The five Nordic countries share global latitude, and much of the design generating from the area is a response to aspects of the landscape and corresponding social activities. The colors and features of the terrain, along with long summer days and cold, dark winter nights, often inform designers’ creativity. But each country possesses a distinct history and tradition that shape its design concepts and influence regional styles.

The exhibition begins with The Pioneers, influential women designers who opened the field to new generations of women artists. They include Karin Larsson, the first designer of what would become known as Swedish Modern, who decorated the home made famous by her husband, painter Carl Larsson; Finnish textile designer Maija Isola, who helped establish Marimekko’s signature bright colors and bold patterns; and Nanna Ditzel, the pre-eminent woman designer of Danish Modern furniture whose Bench for Two has quickly become an international icon of modern design.

Thematic groupings in the exhibition will center on the land and seasons and on lifestyle and values. Landscapes and Seasons will feature objects ranging from Eva Schildt’s (Sweden) thermally insulated backpacks for long summer walks to Ingegerd Råman’s (Sweden) glass vases etched with frost patterns. Cycles of Life illustrates women designers’ sensitivity to age-appropriate designs, from Sigrid Eckhoff’s (Norway) rubber children’s boots featuring a toothy green monster to Maria Benktzon’s (Sweden) set of knives that accommodate arthritic hands. At Home features objects used in domestic spaces, which can have both positive and negative connotations for women. Johnna Sølvsten Bak’s (Denmark) tablecloth with iron burn marks alludes to the drudgery of household chores, while relief from housework is offered by Lene Vad Jensen and Anne Bannick (Denmark), who create dinner ware from corn by-products that can be tossed into the compost heap. Looking to the Future will focus on innovative uses of technology; for example, Pia Myrvold (Norway) uses the World Wide Web as an integral part of her Cybercouture, encouraging visitors to create a dress based on the artist’s design.

Other highlights of the exhibition will include the paper-thin porcelain works of Bodil Manz of Denmark; the illuminated wedding dress of Finland’s Ulla Pohjola, providing both warmth and the shimmer of Northern Lights; from Sweden, Kosta Boda glass designer Lena Bergström’s Planet bowls inspired by the rich colors of nature; and the intricate laser-cut table mats of Tinna Gunnarsdóttir, reminiscent of decoration on Icelandic Christmas cakes.

The exhibition has been generously sponsored by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Institute of Museum and Library Services by an Act of Congress, Volvo Cars of North America, and IKEA, with ongoing support and commitment from the Royal Danish Embassy, the Embassy of Finland, the Embassy of Iceland, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and the Embassy of Sweden. NMWA is also grateful for additional support from FedEx; Apartment Zero; Husqvarna Viking; 3Citron Caterers;
NPS Pharmaceuticals; the Leo Rosner Foundation; Ambassador and Mrs. Lyndon L. Olson, Jr.; Iceland Naturally; the Radisson Barceló Hotel Washington; Springfield Sound; Voss Artesian Water from Norway; Bernstein Consortium Management; the Heimbold Foundation; Gladys and James Lisanby; SWEA Washington, DC; Oddi Printing; Arla Foods; Blondell’s Accent on Events; Icelandair; Kelsen; and Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.

Lectures by leading artists such as Nanna Ditzel and Icelandic fashion designer Steinunn and a film series highlighting women directors from all five Nordic countries are just some of the programs that will be offered to the public during the exhibition. Cool Play, a free family festival that is traditionally the museum’s largest public program of the year, will occur on May 2, featuring music, dancing, storytelling in both Swedish and English, and crafts projects such as Danish paper cutting, weaving, and decorative painting.

A full-color, 80-page exhibition publication will feature essays by NMWA Co-curators Judy L. Larson, NMWA director, and Jordana Pomeroy, curator of NMWA’s permanent collection, and will be sold in the Museum Shop and online for $16.95. Admission to the museum during the time of Nordic Cool: Hot Women Designers will be $8 for adults, $6 for students and visitors 60 and over, and free for NMWA members and youth 18 and under. Free Community Days are the first Sunday and Wednesday of each month.

Green Tales for Nordic Kids will also be on view in the museum’s Library and Research Center April 23 – Sept. 12. It illustrates the themes of respect and harmony with nature that are common in children’s literature in the Nordic countries. Highlights will include Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson’s (1914-2001) Moomin adventures, featuring kindly hippopotamus-like creatures with human personalities, and Swedish author and illustrator Elsa Beskow’s (1874-1953) Peter in Blueberry Land, the first of her more than 30 children’s books that emphasize appreciation of the natural world.

About the women’s museum
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, founded in 1981 and opened in 1987, is the only museum dedicated solely to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Its permanent collection contains works by more than 800 artists, including Judith Leyster, Maria Sibylla Merian, Mary Cassatt, Camille Claudel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Elizabeth Catlett, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Louise Bourgeois. The museum also conducts multidisciplinary programs for diverse audiences, maintains a Library and Research Center, publishes a quarterly magazine, and has organized national and international committees. Nearly 120,000 people visit the museum each year, including thousands of young people who come with schools and scouting groups. NMWA’s national membership of nearly 40,000 is among the top ten percent of museum memberships nationwide. The museum is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, in a landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday noon - 5 p.m. For information call 202.783.5000 or visit the museum’s website,

The work of the following 159 artists and designers will be featured in Nordic Cool: Hot Women Desingers:

Tove Anderberg
Beate Andersen
Johnna Sølvsten Bak
Anne Bannick
Maria Berntsen
Thea Bjerg
Gitte Bjørn,
Marianne H. Buus
Louise Campbell
Nanna Ditzel
Anette Dreyer
Ditte Fischer
Bitten Hegelund
Anette Hermann
Charlotte Houman
Lene Vad Jensen
Vibeke Klint
Natalie Krebs
Eva Krebs
Malene Kyed
Ane Lykke
Lone Skov Madsen
Dorte Mandrup-Poulsen
Bodil Manz
Grethe Meyer
Lisbeth Munch-Petersen
Ursula Munch-Petersen
Kim Naver
Jette Nevers
Annette Krath Poulsen
Jane Reumert
Ann Schmidt-Christensen
Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye
Tina Holm Sorensen
Gertrud Vasegaard
Pernille Vea
Hanne Vedel
Grethe Wittrock

Aino Aalto
Sari Anttonen
Soili Arha
Tuuli Autio
Elsi Borg
Jaana Brinck
Rut Bryk
Susan Elo
Tuula Falk
Brita Flander
Camilla Groth
Paula Häiväoja
Friedl Holzer-Kjellberg
Saara Hopea-Untracht
Helena Hyyryläinen
Maija Isola
Rozalia Janovic
Lisa Johansson-Pape
Jasmine Julin-Aro
Dora Jung
Leena Kaura
Kaisa Kiukkola
Irma Anneli Kukkasjärvi
Barbro Kulvik
Riikka Latva-Somppi
Pia Lindman
Maarit Mäkelä
Päivi Mikola
Toini Muona
Vuokko Nurmesniemi
Kerttu Nurminen
Gunnel Nyman
Laura Partanen
Irina Patt
Helena Pohjola
Ulla Pohjola
Ulla Procopé
Ritva Puotila
Kristina Riska
Kyllikki Salmenhaara
Tanja Sipilä
Nanny Still
Janna Syvänoja
Maisa Tikkanen
Kati Tuominen-Niityla
Helena Tynell
Raija Uosikkinen
Maija Vainonen-Gryta
Karin Widnäs

Fanney Antonsdóttir
Arkibúllan [Holmfridur Jonsdóttir, Heba Hertervig and Hrefna Thorsteinsdóttir]
Halla Bogadóttir
Hildur Bolladóttir
Helga Palina Brynjolfsdóttir
ELM Design [Erna Steina, Lisbet, and Matthildur]
Kristin Gardarsdóttir
Anna Gu<eth>mundsdóttir
Dogg Gu<eth>mundsdóttir
Ragnhei<eth>ur Gu<eth>mundsdóttir
Gu<eth>rún Gunnarsdóttir
Tinna Gunnarsdóttir
Rósa Helgadóttir
Gudrun Halldorsdóttir
Gudbjörg Ingvarsdóttir
Kristin Isleifsdóttir
Tína Jezorski
Árndís Jóhannsdóttir
<THORN>órey S. Jónsdóttir
Anna <THORN>óra Karlsdóttir
Kogga [Kolbrun Björgolfsdóttir]
Linda Loeskow
Gu<eth>ny´ Magnúsdóttir
Erla Solveig Oskarsdóttir
Högna Sigur<eth>ardóttir
Steinunn Sigurdardóttir
<THORN>órhildur <THORN>orgeirsdóttir
<THORN>orbjörg Valdimarsdóttir

Liv Blåvarp
Marie Braathen
Lillian Dahle
Sigrid Eckhoff
Lillan Eliassen
Ellinor Flor
Kari Skoe Fredriksen
Nora Furuholmen
Kaja Gjedebo
Liv Mildred Gjernes
Elisabeth Haarr
Frida Hansen
Solveig Hisdal
Karen Klim
Synnøve Korssjøen
Elsie-Ann Hochlin
Inger Blix Kvammen
Astrid Løvaas
Cathrine Maske
Kith Mjøen
Benny Motzfeldt
Pia Myrvold
Louise Nippierd
Noon [Stine Modal, Mosse Sjaastad, and Anne Vuolab]
Kathrine Nyquist
Tove-Lise Røkke Olsen
Grete Prytz
Hannah Ryggen
Heidi Sand
Anne-Karine Solgaard
Merete Taule
Kjersti Teigen
Tone Vigeland
Kirsten Wagle

Marianne Abelsson
Anna-Stina Åberg
Gunilla Allard
Gunila Axén
Hertha Bengtson
Maria Benktzon
Katrina Berglund
Sandra Ikse Bergman
Lena Bergström
Ragna Berlin
Sofia Björkman
Helena Bodin
Monica Bratt-Wijkander
Vanja Brunzell
Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe
Marita Carlborg-Olsson
Ulla Christiansson
Camilla Diedrich
Johanna Egnell
Anna Efverlund
Ulla Forsell
Anna Forsling
Margareta Forslund
Monica Förster
Anki Gneib
Ann-Britt Haglund
Birgitta Hahn
Ingela Håkansson
Ethel Halvarsson
Marie-Louise Hellgren
Helena Hernmarck
Ulrica Hydman-Vallien
Annika Jarring
Nina Jobs
Gunilla Kihlgren
Anna Kraitz
Janina Kurp
Karin Larsson
Åsa Lindström
Inese Ljunggren
Eva Lilja Löwenhielm
Sara Lüdtke
Ingeborg Lundin
Märta Måås-Fjetterström
Signe Persson Melin
Monika Mulder
Kazuyo Nomura
Marie Norell-Möller
Kajsa Öberg
Ingegerd Råman
Astrid Sampe
Helena Sandström
Eva Schildt
Caroline Schlyter
Petra Schou
Mia Seipel
Pia Sellin
Carina Seth-Andersson
Karin Sjöberg
Åsa Skogberg
Charlotte Sörensen
Gunnel Svensson
Inez Svensson
Ulrika Swärd
Sara Szyber
Anna Thunstedt
Anna Von Schewen
Ann Wåhlström
Pia Wallén
Sissi Westerberg
Marianne Westman
Ann Wolff