By Deb A.
Saatchi Gallery is celebrating its 30th birthday with a first in its illustrious history: Champagne Life (13 January - 9 March) is an exhibition featuring works from 14 female artists from around the world. As well as celebrating their contribution to art, the exhibition was created as "a rare and apposite moment to reflect on what it means to be a female artist working today."
Julia Wachtel, who created the piece that is the exhibition's namesake, told The Guardian, “While one might say it’s problematic to have a show of just women artists, because we don’t have a show advertised as exclusively male, the statistics speak for themselves.”
There are a few more statistics to add to the mix; for instance, Maura Reilly's uncompromising look at the state of affairs for female artists, via ARTnews:
$179.4 million: The highest price paid at auction for the work of a deceased male artist [Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version "O")]*
$58.4 million: The highest price paid at auction for the work of a living male artist [Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange)].
$44 million: The highest price paid at auction for the work of a deceased female artist (Georgia O’Keefe's Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1)
$7.1 million: The highest price paid at auction for the work of a living female artist (Yayoi Kusama's White Number 28).
17: Number of women in Kunstkompass's 2014 list of "the world's 100 greatest artists"
11: Number of women in Artfacts.net's 2015 ranking of the top 100 artists
4: Reviews of solo shows of women in the December 2014 edition of ARTnews
17: Reviews of solo shows of men in the same issue
33%: Percentage of artists featured at the 2015 Venice Biennale who are women
7%: Works on display at the MoMA by women (April 2015)
Ms. Reilly suggests a number of measures to address the art world's gender imbalance, and we at Agave Magazine would like to add one more: visit--and talk about--shows by female artists. Alongside Champagne Life in London, there's the Art Institute of Chicago's Nothing Personal: Zoe Leonard, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, which will run until May. If you're in Miami, you can visit NO MAN'S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection until the end of May. And WOMEN: New Portraits will bring an update of Annie Leibovitz's collaboration with Susan Sontag to 10 cities throughout 2016.
Agave readers, what other exhibitions do you recommend? Add them to the comments section below.
*The ARTnews article, posted in the same month as Les Femmes d'Alger was auctioned, lists $142.4 million for a Francis Bacon triptych as the record.
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