Recent years have represented a major shift in the gender equality discourse in almost all settings. Since the first Women’s March was held in 2017, the need for greater inclusion and representation of women has become even more evident.
We’ve seen progress in the world of politics; Hillary Clinton may have lost the Electoral College, but women gained important ground.
However, there was still a bastion to be conquered: the world of art.
It was the thousands of women who painted the avenues of the United States pink that inspired curators like Apsara DiQuinzio (Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive) to create the Feminist Art Coalition, a platform “for art projects informed by feminists.”
The proposal is to create a network of art museums and non-profit institutions to work collectively on various exhibition formats between September and November 2020, with a special focus on the presidential elections.
“Motivated by the ethical imperative to effect change and promote equality within our institutions and beyond, these collective projects will advocate for inclusive and equitable access to social, cultural, and economic resources for people of all genders, sexualities, races, ethnicities, classes, ages, and abilities,” the collective says on its website.
“This cooperative effort stages a range of projects that together generate a cultural space for engagement, reflection, and action while recognizing the constellation of differences and multiplicity among feminisms.”
Institutions such as the Arizona State University Art Museum, The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Perez Art Museum in Miami (among many others), have stipulated events such as a Liz Cohen retrospective, a Mickalene Thomas installation, an exhibition with Deana Lawson’s photos, and a group exhibition under the title MY BODY, MY RULES, respectively.
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In addition, as Architectural Digest explained, “This doesn’t mean that the focus will be exclusively all-female projects-rather, echoing the bell hooks adage that ‘feminism is for everybody.’”
This initiative is not only important because of the political and social circumstances the country is going through at the moment, but also because of a sort of outstanding debt to women in the art world.
For centuries, women artists, critics, historians, and curators have often been overlooked, even when their work was as important as that of their male counterparts.
Few recognize that without a Gertrude Stein there would not be a Picasso, or that while Salvador Dalí painted his Persistence of Memory, Méret Oppenheim, at only 18, was already rubbing shoulders with Hans Arp and Alberto Giacometti in Paris.
The fact is that in this obstacle course, women have also lost centuries of recognition in the art world under the perennial perspective of the patriarchy.
Once again, time’s up.