The 1970s was a critical period in the fight for gender equality. Ms magazine launched, the landmark Roe v Wade verdict struck down many restrictions on abortion, and Congress enacted Title IX, prohibiting sex-based discrimination in educational programs.
The decade also saw a significant addition to the lexicon of feminism in 1978, when Marilyn Loden, a management consultant, first used the phrase “glass ceiling” to describe the invisible barrier that women face in the workplace. Over four decades later, the term and phenomenon it describes are still firmly in place, enough that in 2021, having an American madam Vice President is a major first in history.
Artist Simon Berger created the broken-glass portrait in celebration of Kamala Harris’ election as the first woman Vice President in the US, based on a photograph by Celeste Sloman. In addition to being the first woman to hold the office, Harris is also the first Black person and person of Indian descent to be elected VP, breaking several panes at once while making her way to the West Wing.
Berger used a hammer as his brush and safety glass as his medium, with Sloman’s photograph as a reference. To create the image, Berger must gently tap the large sheets of laminated safety glass with his hammer, amassing numerous planned breaks and fissures, which totally does not sound like a way in which one would ever create a 3D portrait, but there you have it. The result is striking and makes admirable-and literal-use of Loden’s phrase and the significance of Harris’s achievement. BBH New York and M ss ng P eces assisted with the installation that went up on the National Mall in Washington DC this past week.