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Between Empowerment and Crisis: Images of Motherhood from 1900 to Today

23 October 2015 to 21 February 2016

Super mom or childless? It almost looks as if there were no such thing any longer as motherhood pure and simple, as if all that is left is the choice between perfectionism and resignation. Nevertheless, motherhood has many aspects: joy, an intense experience of life, love relationship, learning, exultation, on one hand, and, on the other, frustration, being weighed down by expectations and the fear of being inadequate to the task. Until the 19th century motherhood was never called into question even if in actual reality the rewards often fell woefully short of projected ideals. It was only the advent of career openings for women that created alternatives to motherhood as a fulfilled life.

Pregnancy, birth, abortion, life with children, the decision against children, the struggle of children with their mothers – all these themes have their place in art. Nor did we have to wait for 1960s feminist art to produce realistic portrayals of the mother’s role but fi nd renderings of social reality and individual conflicts already as early as the beginning of the 20th century.

The exhibition showcases not only shifts in the stereotypes of motherhood from 1900 to today but also the changes in the perspective from which children see their mothers. It calls into question the optimisation logic of today’s life designs and nurtures the hope of change: an ever greater number of women with children opt out of the complex, often stressful regime of everyday life, refusing to accept their life world between career, children and consumption as preordained or God-given.

Curators: Sabine Fellner, Elisabeth Nowak-Thaller and Stella Rollig
Exhibition Design: Silvia Merlo


Uli Aigner • Ed Alcock • Iris Andraschek • Robert Angerhofer • Siegfried Anzinger • Tina Barney • Max Beckmann • Charlotte Berend-Corinth • Werner Berg • Renate Bertlmann • Margret Bilger • Herbert Boeckl • Louise Bourgeois • Candice Breitz • Arthur Brusenbauch • Heinrich Campendonk • Hans Canon • Elinor Carucci • Sevda Chkoutova • Larry Clark • Lenka Clayton • Lovis Corinth • Wilhelm Dachauer • Carola Dertnig • Rineke Dijkstra • Otto Dix • Nathalie Djurberg • Béatrice Dreux • Diane Ducruet • Miriam Elia • Anton Faistauer • Lucian Freud • Fritz Fröhlich • Aldo Giannotti • Burt Glinn • Lea Grundig • Johannes Grützke • Ernst Haas • Conny Habbel • Maria Hahnenkamp • Keith Haring • Karl Hartung • Karl Hauk • Carry Hauser • Gottfried Helnwein • Hannah Höch • Axel Johannessen • Birgit Jürgenssen • Mary Kelly • Josef Kern • Franz Kimm • Gustav Klimt • Max Klinger • Kiki Kogelnik • Oskar Kokoschka • Silvia Koller • Broncia Koller-Pinell • Käthe Kollwitz • Julia Krahn • Johannes Krejci • Friedl Kubelka vom Gröller • Alfred Kubin • Maria Lassnig • Leigh Ledare • Erich Lessing • Switbert Lobisser • Baltasar Lobo • Lea Lublin • Elena Luksch-Makowsky • Karin Mack • Christian Macketanz • Hans Makart • Jeanne Mammen • Matthias May • Jonathan Meese • Georg Merkel • Larry Miller • Gabi Mitterer • Paula Modersohn-Becker • Marie-Louise von Motesiczky • Ron Mueck • Otto Mueller • Alice Neel • Shirin Neshat • Max Oppenheimer • Florentina Pakosta • Rebecca Paterno • Pablo Picasso • Margot Pilz • Hanna Putz • Gail Rebhan • Paula Rego • Rudolf Ribarz • Annerose Riedl • Frenzi Rigling • Franz Ringel • Ulrike Rosenbach • Judith Samen • Hansel Sato • Egon Schiele • Zineb Sedira • Ulrika Segerberg • Kiki Smith • Annegret Soltau • Viktoria Sorochinski • Daniel Spoerri • Sarah Sudhoff • Viktor Tischler • Paloma Varga Weisz • Borjana Ventzislavova mit Mirsolav Nicic und Mladen Penev • Nurith Wagner-Strauss • Andy Walde • Alfons Warhol • Gillian Wearing • Helene Winger-Stein • Anna Witt • Judith Zillich

Supported by


Cover CatalogueThe exhibition is accompanied by the publication Rabenmütter. Zwischen Kraft und Krise: Mütterbilder von 1900 bis heute. Edited in Verlag für moderne Kunst. With texts by Renate Berger, Sabine Fellner, Gertraud Klemm, André Müller, Elisabeth Nowak-Thaller, Florentina Pakosta, Stella Rollig, Barbara Vinken and interviews by Hannah Winkelbauer with several artists.
192 pages, coloured images, in German language, price: € 29

Buy online at the LENTOS Shop
(Order transaction in German only)


Best Agers Day

Brand new at the LENTOS: Senior citizens get free admission each Tuesday from 3 to 6 pm.

Exhibition Booklet

A free exhibition booklet with information on several exhibits is available in German and English language.


Thursday, 22 October 2015, 7 pm
(together with the exhibition Bernhard Fuchs. Woodlands)

Guided tours

    Every Tuesday, 4 pm
    Every Sunday, 4 pm
    Duration 1 hour, costs € 3, exclusive admission, German only
    With Sabine Fellner: Thursday, 26 November, 6.30 pm
    With Elisabeth Nowak-Thaller: Thursday, 28 January, 6.30 pm
    German only, Please register under T 0732 7070 (Teleservice Center der Stadt Linz)
    Saturday, 7 November, at 4 pm
    Saturday, 5 December, at 4 pm
    in English, Czech and Turkish
    Duration 30 Min, € 2 plus admission fee
    Saturday, 7 November, 4 pm
    Saturday, 2 January, 4 pm
    with sign language interpreter
    Admission and guided tour free for deafs
    Thursday, 3 December, 6.30 pm
    Thursday, 11 February, 6.30 pm
    In cooperation with the Frauenbüro Stadt Linz, German only
    Admission: € 6, ticket: free, Please register under T 0732 7070 (Teleservice Center der Stadt Linz)
    Thursday, 5 November, 10.30 am
    Saturday, 12 December, 10.30 am
    Saturday, 20 February, 10.30 am
    Mummy, Daddy, Baby. Cool! A relaxed guided tour through the exhibition.
    Buggy, baby carrier and baby bottle welcome.
    Duration: 1 hour, costs: museum ticket, Please register under T 0732 7070 (Teleservice Center der Stadt Linz)


Friday, 23 October, 10 am–5 pm

with a guided with the curators, lectures, reading and round table talks (in German language) by and with Barbara Sichtermann, Sarah Diehl, Gertraud Klemm, and many more
In cooperation with the Frauenbüro Stadt Linz

Costs: € 18 / € 12 (reduced price)
inclusive admission as well as drinks and snacks  

Registration until 20 October: T 0732 7070 3601 or

Logo Frauenbüro Stadt Linz

background image:

Foto: © maschekS.