“Women make babies, men make culture,” is one of the defiant quotes said by artist Joan Semmel in the first of a series of films by Artsy and Gucci titled, Artists For Gender Equality.
The series looks at the past, present and future of how female artists have been represented in the art world, and how women have consequently fought back to have their voices heard and their work seen.
Beginning with the past, the first short goes back to 1989 to when the Guerrilla Girls counted how many women were represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern art collection. “Less than 5% of the artists were women, and 85% of the nudes were female,” the film states.
Speaking to artists Barbara Zucker, Faith Ringgold, Joan Semmel and art advisor Todd Levin, each talking head speaks of their own experience and how gender misrepresentation within the art world has informed their process or gives examples of how they have personally tackled it. “I think that enabled me to move forward and consider that I was an equal,” says Barbara Zucker. “And then I started to get pissed.” The artist also leads the description of the first film in the series: “Many younger women don’t know what we did,” says sculptor Barbara Zucker, who co-founded A.I.R Gallery — the first artist-run gallery for women in the United States — along with Susan Williams, in 1972.” In a sense, that’s a great thing. They should just be making work. They should just be recognised.”
Two more films, documenting female artists that represent the present and future art world are to follow. Miranda July, Todd Levin, Rachel Uffner and Marilyn Minter feature in the present, dicsussing the gender gap today and “what can be done to level the playing field for women,” and will be available on 20 November. The future artists include Petra Collins, Narcissister, Anthony Spinello and Genevieve Gaignard discussing “What would true gender equality in the art world look like?” and will launch a week late on 27 November.
Artsy has also created a podcast where artists featured discuss what it’s like to be a female artist and have created a breakdown of Art Review’s annual list of the most influential figures in contemporary art according to their geography, race and professional position here.
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