ROSIE WON THE WAR Exhibit Opens January 17 – March 22, 2019

Rosie the Riveter of today
Charlotte, the mason (student, Berlin), and Emilia, the gas station attendant (design student, University of Arts, Berlin). WWII Map: Allies advance into Florence, August 4, 1944. Photo Credit: © Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock, 2019 / ARS, NYC

Women on the American home front during World War II shifted ever so briefly into roles at odds with traditional conceptions of womanhood. Taking on the jobs that men formerly occupied, these women wielded tools and operated machinery as support for the war effort against the rise of fascism in Europe, as well as the threats in the Pacific. The image that most captured that period, when some women exchanged dresses for coveralls and coiffeurs for kerchiefs, was Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter. Both serious and playful, Rockwell’s picture is important commentary on what women were not only capable of, but also only briefly recognized for, way back in 1943.

Roll forward to 2019, nearly a century since women gained the right to vote and more than half a century since the rise of the modern women's movement in the United States, today, in the era of the #MeToo movement, society has yet again needed to reconsider the power and progress of women. The response from Berlin-based artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock is ROSIE WON THE WAR, which showcases a monumental series of portraits that recasts Rosie as a woman of today. The results mix the ironic with the heroic.

At NYU Kimmel Windows Galleries, Stih & Schnock present women, who may use their hands, but more often utilize their minds in their current professions. Merging staged photography with computer-assisted image making, the artists have created individualized narratives that place these contemporary women within the context of World War II. Stih & Schnock underscore how the opening of roles beyond the home in the 1940s led the way to the greatly expanded positions in society now occupied by women such as these. Juxtaposing the gear of Rosie’s time with backdrops that reference battlefields from Omaha Beach to Okinawa, the artists acknowledge the historic conditions of World War II, but also the way in which that time paved new paths for modern women. At the same time, they question gender progress up to our day.

The artists developed this idea initially while visiting D-Day battlefields in Normandy where they considered the massive sacrifice of Americans to save Europe from fascism. Over time, working from their studio in Berlin, the two decided that a series of pictures imbued with narrative, which referenced traditional portraiture via pose and scale not unlike great 17th-century works by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, was the right direction. Their goal: “Let women be heroes.” (Hilary Lewis)

ROSIE WON THE WAR is currently on display at NYU Kimmel Windows Galleries, located at LaGuardia Place & West 3rd Street, from Jan 17 – March 22, 2019 (open 24/7). A panel discussion will be held on Monday, March 11, 2019 at NYU’s Deutsches Haus, 42 Washington Mews. More information about the event will be released in March.

About the Artists
Renata Stih (painting, sculpture, art theory, College of Art in Karlsruhe/Germany) currently teaches art and technology, film, and media at Beuth University of Technology in Berlin, and has published widely on art, film, and architecture. She also is an Honorary Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sciences of Art at Leuphana University, Lüneburg; the chair of the Art Advisory Board to the Senate of Berlin; a member of the Advisory Board of Normandy Institute in Paris; and co-founder of the Human Rights Watch Committee in Berlin. Fellowships and awards include: The German Federal Grant at the Cité des Art in Paris, the Berlin Art Grant; the Freund Fellowship at Washington University, St. Louis; the Rockefeller Fellowship at the Rockefeller Research Center in Bellagio/Italy; the Obermayer German Jewish History Award; and the Whitney J. Oates Fellow in the Humanities Council and Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University (2019-2020).

Frieder Schnock has studied art and art history at the College of Art in Karlsruhe/Germany, TU Karlsruhe, FU Berlin, and College of Art Braunschweig, where he earned his PhD in art history. Professor Dr. Frieder Schnock is managing director of the professionalization program at Berlin’s Artist Association and teaches visual studies at Beuth University of Technology in Berlin. He also is an Honorary Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sciences of Art at Leuphana University, Lüneburg, and has worked as a curator in public and private collections, such as at the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel (Documenta). Schnock is the co-founder of the exhibition organizations Gesellschaft für Blickschulung and Loft 44/45 in Berlin. Fellowships and awards include: Rockefeller Fellow at the Rockefeller Research Center in Bellagio/Italy; Freund Fellow at Washington University, St. Louis; the Obermayer German Jewish History Award, and the Whitney J. Oates Fellow in the Humanities Council and Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University (2019-2020).

Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock were multiple artists-in-residence and have also regularly lectured at U.S. universities and colleges, including Brown University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Rhode Island School of Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Chicago, Maryland Institute College of Art, University of California, Los Angeles; Harvard Graduate School of Design, Zurich University of the Arts, among other.

Exhibitions and installations include (selection): CTRL Space, Center for Art and Media (ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany (2001-2002); RAF., Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, Joanneum Graz / Austria (2005); Reality Bites, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis (2008); and Capital Offense: The End(s) of Capitalism. Beacon Arts, Los Angeles/ USA. By reflecting on museums as containers of memory, they questioned the collections of the Saint Louis Art Museum with the exhibition project, including site-specific interventions.

Other museum projects include: Show Your Collection, Jewish Traces in Munich Museums (2008); The Art of Collecting - Flick in Berlin (2004); their curatorial concept LIFE~BOAT, which they developed at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA (2005-08); the environment Who Needs Art, We Need Potatoes at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (1998-2008), and a corresponding video program for the media façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia (2011/12). One of their eminent bodies of work-in-progress on the history of philosophy, called Lacan Doesn't Live Here Anymore, was shown at Platform L.E.S. Gallery, New York (2012) and the series Smoking Emigrants (2014); Philosophy and Supermarket was realized with students at Leuphana University in Lüneburg (2016). ROSIE WON THE WAR had a first venue at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (2015/16).

For more information about the artists and the exhibit, please email

About the NYU Kimmel Galleries
Established in 2003, Kimmel Galleries are dedicated to providing visually dynamic and thought-provoking exhibitions. They are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Curator Pamela Jean Tinnen at

Rosie the Riveter reimagined with current day professionals

Jennifer, The Constructor (Historian of Modern Germany, Assistant Professor at Yale University, New Haven) & Beate, The Riveter (Professor of Art History & Vice-President of Leuphana University, Lueneburg)
; WWII-Map: Allies Capturing Provence in August 1944; Photo Credit: © Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock, 2019 / ARS, NYC

Rosie the Riveter reimagined as a present day plumber

Hilary The Plumber (architectural historian, chief curator, 
and creative director at The Glass House, New Canaan, CT); 
WWII Map: Normandy, v. Corps at Omaha Beachhead, June 6, 1944; Photo Credit: © Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock, 2019 / ARS, NYC

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