For these dynamic women, growing older is about getting wiser—and bolder. Meet the inaugural class of entrepreneurs, leaders and creators who are part of an exhilarating movement redefining life’s second half and proving that success has no age limit.
Selected from a pool of more than 10,000 nominees, the members of the 50 Over 50 are founding and running companies at scale ($20 million or more in revenue for for-profit companies), leading movements and changing the world. They’re working across all sectors of the American economy—venture capital, education, politics, major league sports and more—and, importantly, they’re paying forward their after-50 success.
In a moment when a global pandemic has pushed a disproportionate number of women out of the workforce—and, among this demographic, forced hundreds of thousands into too-early retirements—it is our hope that the stories of the women on this list resonate, inform and inspire.
In this week’s “Cocktails with a Curator,” Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon celebrates Women’s History Month by examining two exquisite pastels by Rosalba Carriera that recently entered the collection through a bequest from Alexis Gregory and are on view for the first time on the third floor of Frick Madison. Celebrated for her technically innovative pastel portraits, Rosalba was one of the most famous artists of 18th-century Italy, particularly remarkable given the male-dominated society in which she lived. This week’s complementary cocktail is the Vesper Martini.
A matriarchy rules on one of the Bijagos Islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. The tribe of the same name lives on Orango, one of the most populated islands in the archipelago. Women dominate public and private life there. This documentary focuses on the women of the Bijagos tribe of Guinea-Bissau. Unlike many women in traditional and modern societies elsewhere, they pick their husbands, propose marriage and own their homes.
In addition to being responsible for raising children, they also act as high-priestesses in animist ceremonies, organize work, guard the keys to the rice stores, lead their families and ensure there are descendants to continue the line. The Bijagos revere women, who are believed to be in charge of the balance between the worlds of the living and the dead. A matriarchy of this kind is unusual, not only for Africa but around the world. Even though this culture has persisted for centuries, aspects of Western lifestyles are starting to gain a foothold. Rising rates of school attendance could contribute to the demise of the community’s traditions. Future generations will determine whether the Bijagos can retain their culture.
Guinea-Bissau is a tropical country on West Africa’s Atlantic coast that’s known for national parks and wildlife. The forested, sparsely populated Bijagós archipelago is a protected biosphere reserve. Its main island, Bubaque, forms part of the Orango Islands National Park, a habitat for saltwater hippos. On the mainland, the capital, Bissau, is a port with Portuguese colonial buildings in its old city center.
Was the first black principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre earlier denied roles because of her skin colour? She tells host, Anne McElvoy, how dance saved her from a difficult childhood and about her first performance in a classic Christmas production. And, which ballets would she remove from the repertoire?
Misty Danielle Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history
In 1979 Asha Deliverance sewed her first geodesic dome on an old Singer sewing machine, finishing it in time to become her eldest child’s first home. Motivated by the work of Buckminster Fuller, she continued to build dome homes for friends until she responded to increasing demand and opened the country’s first retail dome company in 1980.
Today, Asha has stopped sewing and relies on her team at the Pacific Domes headquarters in Ashland, Oregon to fabric weld her domes. The company provides shelters for families, glamping sites, greenhouses, climbing, events (e.g. Coachella) and extreme outposts. “To test some of the possible challenges of living on Mars, NASA joined forces with Pacific Domes in early in 2013 to erect a 44-foot geodesic-engineered dome on the northern slope of Mauna Loa, Hawaii.”
The company offers DIY dome kits starting at $5,500 for a 16 foot (5 meter) shelter that can be erected with their manual in a couple of days (instructions for the deck are included). When we asked Deliverance about the frustrations of some dome builders like Shelter Publications’ Lloyd Kahn she explained that in the ‘60s people were building domes out of wood which required sealing multiple joints, but that using fabric has made all the difference.
Tree House by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects is a light-filled family home near Bronte Beach in Sydney. As the architect’s own home, the project exemplifies the studio’s experiential design approach, which sees light, form and materiality coalesce to create an experience of place.
The architecture and interiors evoke mood and respond to the changes in light over the course of the day, while the elevated position within the treetops that gives Tree House its name creates a calming atmosphere. With the living space located at the top floor of the architect’s own home, a journey is created through the architecture via a sculptural staircase.
The sculptural forms created by the spiral staircase are balanced by the more pared back interiors, which take their cues from the natural setting. Pale timber, concrete and terracotta tiles, along with the careful approach to both natural and artificial light, reflect the design’s connection to the garden that surrounds it and the nearby beach. This use of few materials detailed to create a highly refined architectural response is characteristic of an architect’s own home.
It highlights how Madeleine Blanchfield Architects has created an experiential home in which simple elements such as materials, details, and changes in light can enhance the mood of a space, resulting in a family home whose architecture, interiors and garden work together to create a sense of lightness and calm.
My main fascination lies within the manipulation of fibres and textiles as an expressive art form. Taking the rural environment as my inspiration,I explore long-term interests of texture, colour, layering and process to create contemplative and ethereal artworks.
My primary technique is wet felting; a traditional craft technique using wool tops, hot water, soapsuds and friction to interlock the fibres together. The making is muscular and rhythmic as I lay, pour, roll and squeeze again and again. It seems repetition nudges me into a semi-meditative space – it invites me to trust myself, and let the haptic connections sinuously paint a new space for the viewer to contemplate.
The compositions are built in layers, hinting at what may lie beneath, and use translucency and light to create absorbing moods. These are highly textured felt pieces in which cloth is embedded, prints disguised, and threads unravelled as a painter with her brush. The analogy with painting is significant throughout, making the viewing inquisitive, and challenging people’s perception.
Brought up in France and French Polynesia, I originally came to the UK to study textile design and am now a widely exhibited artist working and living in West Yorkshire. In 2015, I was awarded the Embroidery Magazine’s Best Emerging Textile Artist at SIT Select Showcase, as well as Best Picture in Show at theGreat North Art Show.
Jo Applin gives an insight into both Lee Lozano’s life and her work, contextualizing her practice and highlighting her response to the constraints of constitutional systems, gender dynamics, power, money, and politics.
Created in 1962–1963, the early paintings and drawings on view at Hauser & Wirth Somerset use airplanes as a central image and can be considered as examples of the artist’s passionate exploration of creative energy in its purist form. This focused body of early work exposes a complex and deeply intimate inner life grappling with one-sided gender and societal dichotomies, while other works display a form of ferocious humour and playfulness, exploiting the rhetoric of exaggeration to its most cogent effect.
Her raw expressionist brush strokes create powerful works imbued with a very personal iconography, including genitals, religious symbols, tools and body parts. Lozano’s short lived but influential career remains a source of fascination, lauded by Lucy Lippard as the foremost female conceptual artist of her era in New York. Jo Applin is author of ‘Lee Lozano: Not Working’ and ‘Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture.’ She teaches modern and contemporary art at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London.