An Exhibition of Women Artists

This series is written by DZINE Gallery curator Philip Bewely

In a profile of the philanthropist and President Emerita of MoMA, Agnes Gund, written by Alexandra Wolfe in the Wall Street Journal in July of this year, Gund declares, “Women artists, no matter how well recognized they are, are seldom given solo exhibitions or featured in significant group shows.” The article goes on to describe Gund’s determination to change that, donating some of her works by women, including Bourgeois, Jackie Winsor and Sylvia Plimack Mangold, to museums for their permanent collections.

Wolfe writes, “[Gund] has also helped start an archive of women’s artwork at Columbia University, and has been outspoken about encouraging curators to show lesser-known female artists from other countries, such as Brazil and Poland. ‘We helped find women from other countries we wouldn’t have thought about before or collected in depth,’ [Gund] says. ‘I think it’s also good to keep talking about it.’”

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In putting together DZINE Gallery’s Pattern Language exhibition, I should note that I did not originally set out to produce a group show exclusively showcasing women artists. In looking at the work of artists that I featured in previous exhibitions, artists that I wanted to work with, and new artist discoveries, I found by serendipity that the artists who were doing some of the most exciting work did, in fact, compose an all-women show. And that is, perhaps, as it should be.

When I first began formulating the exhibition, I knew I wanted the gallery to have an active role in listening to issues that many people were thinking about, but not necessarily talking about or acting upon. My hope is that an exhibition is not just a display of objects, but also participates in moving the culture in positive ways. This approach unfolded organically, producing an exhibition of exciting work by 15 supremely talented women artists from the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and London. The exhibition is first and foremost about the exceptional art, but I have to agree with Gund that with the art world and gender, it’s good to keep talking about it.

Next: Creating the Pattern Language Exhibition