The Feminine Mystique
Group Show featuring Justine Reyes
curator Rocío Aranda-Alvarado

Run Dates:August 15, 2007 – February 24, 2008
Opening Reception: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 6-9 pm

Jersey City Museum, Main Galleries
350 Montgomery Street, Jersey City, NJ

For additional information, a price list, hi-rez images, and/or an artist press kit, please contact us

The problem lay unburied, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stifling, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—“Is this all?”

—Betty  Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)

This opening passage from Betty Friedan’s critical text briefly describes the reason for her extensive research: a general unhappiness that seemed to plague American women in the 1950s. Published on the dawn of the second wave of feminism (from the 1960s on,) Friedan’s text is crucial to understanding the early stages of the women’s struggle for social and economic equality. Through her job as a magazine writer, Friedan began conducting a series of interviews with women.

The exhibition of contemporary art features the work of women who address feminist issues either directly or obliquely, filtered through a contemporary response to Betty Friedan’s critical text, The Feminine Mystique. Discussed as “the problem that has no name,” the indefinable unhappiness faced by women at mid-twentieth century is re-visited in the work of these artists who take up this familiar issue, as well as a host of new ones, for the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Friedan’s central concerns about the socially prescribed roles for women are addressed throughout the exhibition. The Feminine Mystique articulated a variety of issues born from Friedan’s careful and extensive research that included personal interviews with women and makers of products for women, archival research, investigation into corporate research and development departments, and her own shrewd observations. 35 artists from New York, New Jersey and elsewhere are featured.


about the artist: Justine Reyes lives and works in New York. In 2004 she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and her BFA from Syracuse University in 2000. Reyes' work revolves around issues of identity, history and time; and our relationship to these themes in a post 9/11world. Using photography and installation, she examines family, the idea of leaving and returning home, and the longing to hold on to things that are ephemeral and transitory in nature.

about the curator: Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Ph. D., is currently Associate Curator at the Jersey City Museum. She organizes exhibitions of historical and contemporary art, based on the permanent collection and on work by both established and emerging artists in the New Jersey and New York region.

about the gallery: The mission of the Jersey City Museum is to present, collect, and interpret American visual art and material culture of the highest quality. The museum places particular emphasis on exhibiting and supporting the work of contemporary artists who represent the diversity of our society, and on preserving and making accessible the art and the historical and industrial objects of significance to the region in its collections.

  Justine Reyes, Untitled (Away from Home Series) c-print, edition of 5, 40x50in. Image courtesy of {CTS} creative thriftshop, New York. Installation View: The Feminine Mystique, Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ. 2007 Image courtesy of {CTS} creative thriftshop, New York.