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Art's feminine mystique at four city museums

Women have suddenly become the topic of choice in the city's museums, with four major shows devoted, one way or another, to the art of the female.


1. 'AMERICAN WOMAN'

WHAT Starting at the Met, there's a blockbuster fashion show produced with the Brooklyn Museum. The show ranges through time, from the 1890s, with ball gowns by Worth and sports clothes for the Gibson girl, through the beaded dresses of the '20s and the screen sirens of the '30s and '40s.

WHEN | WHERE Through Aug. 15 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave.

INFO $20, 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org


2. 'AMERICAN HIGH STYLE'

WHAT Brooklyn has its own big fashion show at the Brooklyn Museum. With about 85 pieces, many never shown before, standouts include work by American sportswear designers Bonnie Cashin and Claire McCardell. Don't miss Elsa Schiaparelli's surrealist insect necklace, one of the jewels of the museum's collection.

WHEN | WHERE Through Aug. 1 at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn

INFO $10, 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org


3. 'WOMEN ONLY'

WHAT This exhibit at the Folk Art Museum features largely unsung and uncelebrated women artists dating back to Colonial times. It's rich in traditional "women's work": samplers, embroidery, quilts and rugs among the paintings and drawings. Check out the Cleveland-Hendricks Crazy Quilt, with its political ribbons and portrait of Grover Cleveland, for an idea of one 19th-century woman's political leanings.

WHEN | WHERE Through Sept. 12 at the American Folk Art Museum, 45 W. 53rd St.

INFO $12, 212-265-1040, folkartmuseum.org


4. 'PICTURES BY WOMEN'

WHAT MoMA's show traces the work of female photographers back through the earliest days of the medium, incorporating masterpieces such as Dorothea Lange's Depression-era picture "Migrant Mother," Berenice Abbott's pictures of a changing New York City, Barbara Morgan's 1940 photograph of dancer Martha Graham and Nan Goldin's photos of the downtown Manhattan community of the late '70s and early '80s.

WHEN | WHERE Through Aug. 30 at MoMA, 11 W. 53rd St.

INFO $20, 212-708-9400, moma.org

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