For Women Artists, Studio Visits Can Be Risky Business, Hall W. Rockefeller, δημοσίευση στο Hyperallergic [13/12/2022]Marilena Pateraki
The studio visit is a vital place of exchange between the private creative life of an artist and the wider commercial and institutional worlds of the market and museum. But when an element of the art world is both commonplace and essential to its functioning, it deserves to be scrutinized, especially from the perspective of women artists and other populations the art world has systematically underserved.
In her book Seven Days in the Art World (2008), author Sarah Thornton spends one of her precious days at a studio visit with Japanese art world star Takashi Murakami. The visit is focused on observing the studio mechanism whir, buffered by studio assistants and mediated by gallerists with international reputations. But the studio life of very few artists (and even fewer women artists) looks like that of Murakami. What about the strata of artists working below this level, for whom the studio is more creative sanctuary than art factory, and for whom a studio visit can be a fraught invasion of personal and emotional space?
At its core, a studio visit offers an opportunity for an artist to share her work with a potential collector, interested curator, critic, or scholar. In other words, many visits are defined by an unequal power dynamic playing out between two people in a private space. In the #MeToo era, this is a formula we can all recognize to be fraught, especially for women, though when I reached out to the women artists in my network — via my mailing list, Instagram, and word of mouth — the number of eager responses made it clear this was a subject on the minds of many, but on the lips of few. The fear, discomfort, hesitation, and, ultimately, lost opportunities engendered by a system that depends on studio visits reveals just one more facet of an art world that disadvantages women artists.
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