I ADMIT IT: I never read Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. But I’m making up for it this weekend, by going to the National Museum of Women in the Arts to see a working original manuscript of the seminal book (which, as I’ve said, I never read, and certainly not in French).
While the museum’s main exhibit this summer is “Revival,” with marvelous works of sculpture, photography and video from contemporary women artists—including one of Louise Bourgeois’s marvelous spiders—NMWA’s Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center has its own delights on offer.
And one of those is a working manuscript of Beauvoir’s Second Sex. But it’s not just a stack of papers in a glass case: The library has re-created a corner of the feminist author’s Paris studio, the desk she wrote at, where a wall of photos of friends and inspirations were just a raised eyebrow away. The best part? The mid-century furniture was supplied by Miss Pixie’s, the fabulous vintage shop in DC. The exhibit, “From the Desk of Simone de Beauvoir,” is on through August 12, 2017.
Another little library exhibit opening on July 17 is “Wonder Women!” It’s not the movie, of course, but the blockbuster does provide a nice time peg for this celebration of powerful female images, such as the Wonder Woman on the cover of Ms. Magazine back in 1972 and painter Edna Reindel’s tough WWII riveters, there’s just as much to think about here as in the Simone de Beauvoir corner. “Wonder Women!” will be up through November 17, 2017.
“Revival” is open through September 10, 2017.
Museum admission is $10, with student and senior discounts. The museum is at 1250 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC; 202-783-5000, www.nmwa.org.