A few years ago at Art Basel, a debate was hosted with the motion “The art world is a boys’ club.” The audience decided against it, but many are still left in the room thinking: “but is it?” We want to take the chance to celebrate 6 women who have carved out space for themselves in this elusive yet exciting industry: from making paintings to curating shows to running galleries and youth art charities.
THESE ARE WOMEN IN ART.
Founder & Director, Galerie Taglialatella Paris
How would you describe your gallery?
The Taglialatella Galleries are specialised in Pop and Urban Art. It’s a mix between Modern and Contemporary Art. The gallery is located in The Marais, one of the oldest districts in Paris.
How did you begin your career in this field?
I started my professional career in the financial world but I’ve always known that my eventual path will be in the art world. I’ve started as an art advisor to my friend, and then I decided to open my own space. As an art collector, I started to buy artworks at a very young age so when I decided to open my own gallery, the choice was very clear that I would pick my favourite period in art history. I always been fascinated by Pop Art Masters and their legacies in the Urban Art Movement
Do you think fashion and art co-exist and how?
Absolutely! I think fashion and art are connected as both of them are the result of an artist’s creation; a lot of fashion designers are influenced by artists and recently, we’ve seen many collaborations between artists and fashion designers. For example, regarding artists I represent: Kongo did a collaboration with Hermès while Toxic did a collaboration with Pierre Frey.
What art piece would you own if you could?
Marina Abramovic herself as an art performance in my own living room! I’m so in love with her work and as a woman, I appreciate how she had crossed boundaries in the art world.
What is the secret to success when running your own gallery?
There is no secret — the key to success is passion.
If you were an art piece, what would you be?
I would probably be an installation of light and glass — something moving. I’m very fond of works with light and it has always fascinated me. I actually created some pieces on my own with light!
Creative Director & Curator
Who are some of your favorite artists?
My favorite artists are the risk-takers that forge their own path and are dedicated wholeheartedly to their practice — the artists who help one another and simultaneously have something to say, who wish to leave the world a better place then they found it. As for names, I’m currently representing Parker Day, a contemporary female photographer from Los Angeles who shoots portraits on 35mm film. Her work reminds me of some of my favorite established artists like Cindy Sherman, Diane Arbus, and Maurizio Cattelan.
What is one of the best art experience you’ve had?
I recently had the chance to work with Simon Birch bringing his creative vision to life at The 14th Factory in Los Angeles. The 14th Factory was a 3-acre group exhibition which expanded the way audiences experience art. I also recently did a studio visit with NYC-based painter Theresa Chromati whose work both excites and inspires me. Focusing on the black female form, Chromati paints lurid colors that are accentuated by movement and animated gestures.
What do you like most about your job?
It’s really more like what do I love most because it’s an act of love. Working with artists on telling their story through my curatorial practice is a dream come true. As a creative director and art producer, bringing visionary ideas to life gives me a sense of purpose. I love working with brands like Polaroid Originals on artists collaborations that use marketing as a platform for creative expression.
Favorite city for an art lover?
That’s a tough one! I think that every major city has a little something for everyone and the fun part is exploring to find it. The best way is by visiting the museums of what you’re into. I’m generally drawn to contemporary art museums and underground artist spaces, but sometimes I’m drawn in the opposite direction and so I find it’s important to keep an open mind. The art of a city is a reflection of its culture and its people. I recently visited Amman, Jordan and found myself enamored with its rich history and artifacts.
If you have to be an artwork, you would be…..
I’m like the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi…always a work in progress and never quite finished but clearly a masterpiece 🙂
The most memorable moment in your career?
I have had several memorable moments but right now is an extremely exciting time for me. I’ve never been happier living and painting in my studio in NYC and working towards two solo shows for the end of this year. One for The 14th Factory in London and another for Project Gallery in Toronto.
What inspires you?
Museums, traveling and the internet. Art that makes me say “Damn, I wish I thought of that first” or “How did they do that?”
This is a tough question, however, I’m going to try to answer this based on who I’ve recently been internet and real-life stalking.
Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O’keeffe, Katsushika Hokusai, Kara Walker, Nina Chanel Abbey, Shary Boyle, Kerry James Marshall, David Hockney, Cai Guo-Qiang, Liu Jianhua, Lisa Yuskavage, Rick Leong, Misaki Kawai, Erin Loree, David Altmejd, Jacob Hashimoto, Nicolas Party, David Armstrong Six, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Rajni Perera, Alex Mcleod and Katherine Bradford.
Dream hanging spot for a painting by you?
Dream hanging spot. Hmm. I’m not too sure. I try not to think about the placement of my work too much. Perhaps not a specific spot but rather if my work was hung beside any of the listed artists above, I would be ecstatic.’
What is the most fulfilling thing about what you do?
The most fulfilling thing about painting other than the painting itself is everything that surrounds my practice. I feel extremely blessed to be able to paint full time and to be able to meet other artists to discuss art, our insane current political climate, the environment, pop culture, history, travel and life in general. In my opinion, the sense of community, camaraderie and the lifetime friendships you make are the most fulfilling things about creating.
Did you always know you’re going to be an artist?
In some capacity or another, I always knew.
LINDSEY MCALISTER OBE, JP
Founder, Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation
Tell me about HKYAF
The Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation (YAF) is a charity that provides high quality, non-competitive and free of charge arts experiences for young people aged 5 to 25. Established in 1993 by myself, YAF organizes inclusive and inspirational projects that reach out to young people of all cultures, backgrounds, languages, and abilities, and we actively create opportunities for disadvantaged and underprivileged young people. Each year we reach over 800,000 young people with our projects, workshops, exhibitions, and performances.
What sparked the passion to launch this?
I arrived in Hong Kong 30 years ago after having worked in the Arts in the UK. In the UK a lot of the pioneering work in the arts had been done, so as an emerging artist, I was following in the footsteps of those who’d gone before. In Hong Kong, I was the one pioneering, which was exciting! There were not many opportunities for young people to get involved in high quality, inspirational, free of charge art programmes. I saw a niche… and dived in!
I had the idea for a Youth Arts Festival but I was pretty clueless about how to actually get my idea off the ground. I am a quick learner, so with trial and error, I managed to stage the first event in 1993 — never dreaming that 25 years later I’d have made this much magic for the community of Hong Kong!
What do you love about your job?
I LOVE creating! I LOVE to have an idea and then make it a reality. It’s like casting a spell and making something out of nothing. I LOVE my team… all women who share my passion and all my energy. I LOVE the young people we have the privilege to work on projects with and I LOVE seeing them transform as a result of being involved in the arts!
How many kids do you think you have nurtured?
SQUILLIONS!!!! We work with over 800,000 young people and members of the community each year! Seriously SQUILLIONS!
Why is doing this in Hong Kong so important?
Empowering young people through the Arts is important everywhere! In Hong Kong, the young people we work with find a sense of acceptance and belonging at YAF, a place where uniqueness and difference are celebrated. The young people we work with make friends who they’ll keep for their whole lives. Art projects also encourage people to be more self-confident, have higher self-esteem, be creative problem solvers and creative thinkers. YAF empowers young people to take a leadership role, be an active part of a team, have empathy for others, and learn perseverance, focus, and dedication.
Co-Founder & Creative Director, Art Loft Asia
How did the idea for Art Loft Asia come about?
We really wanted to move beyond the traditional white box gallery setting, and make art fun and accessible to a global audience. Having seen the challenging conditions of struggling yet extremely talented artists in the region firsthand, we wanted to merge art and technology to create an online platform that enables artists to showcase their works and tell their story. We hope to eventually fulfill our mission of putting art in every home, space, and wall that is available, and for our artists’ stories to be as far-reaching as possible.
What are the biggest challenges you had to go through to set up your company?
As a first-time entrepreneur setting up Art Loft Asia, the biggest challenge was turning a vision into reality, and remembering the intentions behind the ambition when the going gets tough. Second of all would be taking ownership in making decisions both big or small, and knowing that they can have profound impacts on the direction and future of the company. There are times where I did feel alone and lost, which can often lead to a vicious cycle of self-doubt. That being said, I was lucky enough that I always had my partner Qiuyan to bounce ideas off with. There were times that I had made the wrong decisions and we had to start all over again, but knowing you have the full support of your business partner really enables you to ride that wave of uncertainty and overcome it every time.
What are some of your favorite artists these days (emerging and established)?
Richard Serra, Team Lab and Dawn Ng.
How is Art Loft Asia different from other online art marketplace?
We’ve always tried to make things FUN — in our branding, design, partnerships, and collaborations that we’ve developed over the years. For example, we’ve had a long-standing partnership with the Aloft hotel brand under Starwood, which really helped amplify our brand in supporting emerging Asian Artists around the Asia Pacific region. We’ve also worked with Uber to put artwork on cars to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
It’s extremely gratifying to be able to meet people from different geographies and all walks of life. Through building this business, we’ve been able to build a strong community of artists that otherwise would have never met, and who are able to relate, collaborate and share experiences with one another.
If you could magically have any artwork on your living room wall it would be….
One can dream but I would love Yayoi Kusama’s white-on-white painting, No. 2, from her Infinity Nets series!
Director at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Hong Kong
When did you first realize you loved the Arts?
I grew up in St. Petersburg during the Soviet era. My mom is a musician, and all through my childhood, I was surrounded by her friends, many of whom were writers, musicians, artists, and theatre people. Friends would get together every weekend and stay up late with lots of singing, conversations, and listen to the latest contraband cassettes from America. I always felt like this was the kind of community that I wanted to be a part of in my grown-up life.
What is your advice for anyone wanting to step into your career path?
See as much art as possible — even if it is not art you think you would love. Read about artists in depth — not just the latest news. And try to find an organization whose vision and artists resonate with you. True energy and enthusiasm are contagious!
Do you think we are seeing more gender equality in this field?
There is certainly more gender equality now than there was a few decades ago, but of course, there’s still a long way to go. It’s fantastic that this topic is being discussed front and center in Hong Kong right now. Sotheby’s recently put on an amazing exhibition of Hong Kong women artists from the New Hall Art Collection, and this week at Art Basel HK the Asia Art Archive is featuring Guerilla Girls, who have been turning the spotlight on this bias in the art world since the 80’s. There are so many great artists and stories that need to be heard.
If you had to choose one art medium what would it be?
I have a soft spot for work on paper. It’s such a delicate and expressive medium! I’ve seen some incredible works at the fairs this week — paper installations by Jacob Hashimoto always steal my heart.