Making Their Mark Exhibition at BAMPFA Highlights Pathbreaking Women Artists of the Past Eight Decades


Making Their Mark Exhibition at BAMPFA Highlights Pathbreaking Women Artists of the Past Eight Decades 

On view October 26, 2024 through April 20, 2025

Exhibition Accompanies a Major Gift by Collectors Komal Shah and Guarav Garg to Advance Scholarship on Women Artists at BAMPFA

(Berkeley, CA) March 25, 2024—The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will present the exclusive West Coast engagement of Making Their Mark: Works from the Shah Garg Collection, a widely acclaimed exhibition of one of the leading private collections of work by women artists. Making Their Mark is the first public presentation of this important collection, which premiered in New York in 2023 and was assembled by the Bay Area philanthropist Komal Shah and her husband Gaurav Garg. More than seventy artists are represented in the exhibition, which juxtaposes contemporary practices with pathbreaking historical works to illuminate transgenerational affinities, influences, and methodologies among artists from the postwar era to the present. The exhibition’s Berkeley presentation coincides with the launch of the Shah Garg Women Artists Research Fund, which will support new scholarship in the form of public programs, publications, and exhibitions featuring women artists at BAMPFA.

BAMPFA’s presentation of Making Their Mark follows the exhibition’s opening in New York last year at 548 West 22nd Street. The BAMPFA exhibition is curated by Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen Jr. Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art and BAMPFA Chief Curator Margot Norton. BAMPFA’s presentation of Making Their Mark will include a unique selection of works from the Shah Garg Collection, including works that will go on view for the first time. The exhibition will highlight women artists with deep ties to the Bay Area such as Mary Corse, Trude Guermonprez, Mary Heilmann, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Elizabeth Murray, and Kay Sekimachi, as well as other internationally distinguished artists including Lynda Benglis, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Sonya Gomes, Maria Lassnig, Joan Mitchell, Julie Mehretu, Howardena Pindell, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and many others. Following its BAMPFA engagement, Making Their Mark will travel to the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri in September 2025.

In developing the exhibition’s curatorial focus at BAMPFA, Norton has emphasized the intergenerational dialogues between artists who circumvent and break through conventions in artmaking, embracing craft techniques, unconventional supports, and alternative materials—drawing illuminating parallels between the work of younger artists like Aria Dean, Tau Lewis, Christina Quarles, Tschabalala Self, and Rose Simpson and older generations of artists who preceded them. These themes are further illuminated in the book accompanying the exhibition, Making Their Mark: Art by Women in the Shah Garg Collection, which includes important new scholarship and critical essays on many of the artists represented in the exhibition. Coedited by Mark Godfrey and Katy Siegel, the book will be available for purchase in the BAMPFA Store.

To further advance this vital scholarship, BAMPFA will inaugurate a major multiyear initiative in 2024 to research the important contributions of women-identifying artists to the art historical field. Supported by a major gift from the Shah Garg Foundation, the Shah Garg Women Artists Research Fund at BAMPFA will unite the museum’s educational mission as a leading university art museum with a history of celebrating the work of women artists and feminist themes in its exhibition program—most notably with its ambitious 2021 survey New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century, its convening role in the nationwide Feminist Art Coalition, and recent retrospectives of Alison Knowles and Amalia Mesa-Bains. Along with their support of this new research initiative, the Shah Garg Foundation has also committed to donate select artworks from Making Their Mark to BAMPFA’s permanent collection.

“While there have been many survey exhibitions of work by women artists, Making Their Mark is unique in its emphasis on cross-generational dialogues between artists who go beyond conventions in artmaking established within a historically patriarchal field,” said Norton. “BAMPFA is proud to partner with two distinguished Bay Area art collectors who share our desire to elevate the scholarship and support of women artists past, present, and future.”

“The significant investment in the work of women artists by Komal and Guarav is truly inspiring and groundbreaking,” said BAMPFA’s Executive Director Julie Rodrigues Widholm. “We are so grateful that their vision dovetails with ours at BAMPFA to create public access to such excellent examples of artwork by leading artists of our time, which will generate new scholarship and new art histories for years to come. It is especially fitting that this partnership is with an esteemed UC Berkeley alumna.”

“The Shah Garg Foundation is honored to bring Making Their Mark to an institution as brilliant as Berkeley and further educate a younger generation on the accomplishments of women artists,” said Shah. “We are filled with so much excitement at the opportunity to spotlight works that have rarely been seen before to this community. With this iteration of the exhibition and the unveiling of the Shah Garg Women Artists Research Fund, we hope to continue the vital conversation of representation and give way to tangible progress for women.” 

About Shah Garg Foundation

The Shah Garg Foundation supports scholarship and public engagement highlighting the achievements and innovations of women artists. Through a wide range of projects and partnerships with educational institutions, arts organizations, and arts leaders, the Foundation works to bring greater recognition to art by women and to rectify the underrepresentation of women in public collections, exhibitions, and art historical narratives. The Foundation offers strategic financial and programmatic support in service to its vision to achieve parity for women artists within the arts ecosystem.

About Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg

Originally from Ahmedabad, India, Komal Shah migrated to the US in 1991 to study computer science in California. After completing her Masters at Stanford, she obtained an MBA from the Haas School of Business at Berkeley, eventually holding positions in the executive suites of Oracle, Netscape, and Yahoo. In 2008, Shah left the tech industry to focus on philanthropic pursuits. She then began developing the Shah Garg Collection with her husband and tech entrepreneur Gaurav Garg, solidifying a vision for the collection’s emphasis on women artists in 2014. Today, they are focused on amplifying the voices of women artists and artists of color through the Shah Garg Foundation.


Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) ignites cultural change for a more inclusive and artistic world. BAMPFA has been uniquely dedicated to art and film since 1970, with international programming that is locally connected and globally relevant. It holds more than 25,000 artworks and 18,000 films and videos in its collection, with particular strengths in modern and contemporary art and historical Chinese painting, as well as the world’s largest collection of African American quilts. As part of the University of California, Berkeley, BAMPFA is committed to artistic diversity through its robust slate of art exhibitions, film screenings, artist talks, live performances, and educational programs that shed new light on the art of the past and connect our audiences with leading filmmakers and artists of our time. BAMPFA sits on the edge of campus and downtown Berkeley, where it welcomes visitors from across and beyond the Bay Area in a repurposed building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Exhibition Credits

Making Their Mark is curated by Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of Highline Art, New York, and Margot Norton, Chief Curator.

Posted by afox on March 22, 2024