Has anyone else noticed the “trend” of entirely female exhibitions lined up for this year? First off, let’s get this straight from the start, I’m all up for females becoming more accomplished in the art world and that’s not something up for debate. Nevertheless, I honestly feel like I’d lose my shit if somewhere labelled an all male exhibition as just that, as would probably all of the female population with an interest in art and culture, so why is it okay to do the same back?
When you look at the facts throughout time it’s obvious that women have struggled to be noticed within the elitist art world. The highest selling painting by a female so far is Georgia O’Keefe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No 1 which sold for an astonishing £28.8m yet, when you compare with Picasso’s Women of Algiers (Version O) piece that sold just last year for a mind-blowing £115m, you have to pause for thought. Obviously this isn’t okay, but what is the reasoning behind it? Genuine question for everyone. I’d like to know the answers. It’s not imperative that a woman hold the record but a £86.2m gap, really?
This has caused some kafuffle in the industry with championing more female artists and we’re now seeing this influx of women only exhibitions. I’ll openly admit that I’m all up for them when low-key and with a story to match. Photography of women fighting for their right to vote – hell yeah! A curation by someone with the views to match – yes please! I find it more of an issue when a label is attached for a bit of publicity and it feels as if the gallery is trying to make a statement. Champagne Life is currently showing at Saatchi Gallery and I feel like Charles is running away from the Gorilla Girls or something. The gallery tends to showcase female artists anyway so why does it even need to make a big hurrah about it now, especially on the gallery’s 30th birthday, which I personally feel should be a celebration of all.
I totally adored the strange and eclectic offerings of Champagne Life, but I t think adding the female only statement has detracted from the brilliance of all of these wonderful artists. With the likes of Maha Malluh, Julia Dault and Mia Feuer all providing striking, thought-provoking and very different pieces, I can’t help but feel their story has been lost in the commentary. I’ve heard far more about the label attached to the exhibition than the artists themselves (and now I’m bloody talking about it too!) At the end of the day art is art, and if it’s wonderful and communicative it should be on display, gender shouldn’t even be in the picture, end of story / rant / confused ramblings.