Women are still a minority in the art world today. While women account for 60% of art school enrolments, merely 25% of Tate Modern exhibitions feature works by women artists. This statistic drops to 7% for MoMA.
We must face the facts: in art as in society, a women’s work is often sidelined. Why is this so? Firstly, the professional art world is still run primarily by men, who take charge of museums, exhibitions or sales. This limits the professional advancement of women in the field. Secondly, because the work of women in the art world is not fully appreciated and promoted by art institutions.
Fight for Equality
The fight for parity in the art world is a major challenge for art. It is necessary to rewrite the history of art and reinvent its institutions by highlighting the work of women in the art world. Today, female collectors, museum directors and curators are mobilising their forces and support women’s initiatives in the field.
Opportunities are multiplying to accelerate the recognition of women in the art world and to make their work visible. Singulart invites you to discover through this article the journey of 5 women from all over the world who are revolutionising the art world today.
1. Camille Morineau, France
Camille Morineau is an exhibition curator, heritage curator and artistic director. She directed the collections and exhibitions at the Monnaie de Paris before joining the Centre Georges-Pompidou. Camille Morineau also taught at the Ecole du Louvre and joined its board of directors as president in November 2020. Her mission? To place women artists on the same level as their male counterparts. She brings works by female artists into the Pompidou’s collections with the elles@centrepompidou collection. Here, 350 works by women artists are presented from 2009 to 2011.
She then founded the AWARE (Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions) association in 2014. With AWARE, Morineau wishes to rewrite the history of art by offering a documentary platform.
2. Claire Hsu, Hong Kong
Hsu is one of the most influential women in the Asian art market. She is now the director of the Asia Art Archive, an independent non-profit organization to document and collect Asian art. She co-founded the organization in Hong Kong in 2000 at the age of 24 with curator Johnson Chang. With her project “Mapping Asia”, Claire seeks to include Asian art and its diversity in the contemporary art scene.
The place of women in the history of art is one of the association’s areas of research in order to eventually share a complete, diverse and equal history of art. She publishes the association’s digital journals and is invited to the most important round tables around the world. A member of the World Economic Forum on the place of art in society, she was notably recognised as a Young Global Leader by the Forum in 2013.
3. Thelma Golden, UK
Golden was program director of the Harlem Studio Museum before becoming Director and Chief Curator of the Harlem Museum. In 2005, Thelma Golden became the first black curator working at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988 after graduating. At the Whitney Museum, she presented her exhibition “The Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art” in 1994, questioning the intersection between gender and skin colour. This exhibition earned her a reputation as a committed curator and international recognition.
She is now considered one of the most influential people in the contemporary art world. Through her work, Golden showcases emerging artists from around the world while supporting the African-American art community. In 2012, her TedTalk explaining how art is driving cultural change has thousands of views. Thelma Golden is one of the reasons why the art world is diversifying and changing a little more each year.
4. Touria El Glaoui, London
Touria El Glaoui is a French-Moroccan and London-based entrepreneur. She began her career in the financial sector in New York before following her desire to make African art known at the international level. Touria became the founder of the African Contemporary Art Fair 1-54 in 2013. The fair took place at Somerset House in London in 2013, before expanding to New York, Marrakech and Paris in the following years.
The 1-54 is now the world reference platform dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diasporas. As a member of the advisory board of Christie’s Education in London, Touria has spoken at numerous meetings on the subject of contemporary African art and women’s leadership in international reference places. She is now considered one of the 100 most influential women in the art world by Forbes magazine.
5. Sheikha al Mayassa, Qatar
Princess of Qatar and nicknamed the queen culture by the media, Sheikha al Mayassa, a great art specialist, is one of the most influential women patrons in the world of art and culture. Her father, the former Emir of Qatar, appointed her head of the Qatar Museum Authority in 2005 while she was still a student. Sheikha Al Mayassa uses her country’s enriching history and fame to encourage education and cross-cultural discussion. One of her biggest projects is the Museum of Islamic Art, an institution preserving Islamic art while documenting its diversity.
Sheikha al Mayassa wishes to make it the place of reference for Islamic art and culture, too often simplified by the international scene for her taste. At the same time, her mission is to encourage diversity and equality of opportunity. She is the director of Reach Out to Asia: an association seeking to provide access to education to Asian populations, whatever their age, gender or social background. Her influence in the world of art is today undeniable.