This year I’ve been increasingly impressed with the amount of exhibitions that prominently feature not only women, but also non-western artists and designers. I’ve seen it in New York, Berlin and London, so hopefully this isn’t simply the latest trend, but a genuine and concerted attempt to redress the balance.
It isn’t just the large individual shows; Hatoum, O’Keefe, Kusama, Arbus… but also – and perhaps more importantly – across large group exhibitions, alongside their male/western contemporaries. While for some people, it is “political correctness gone mad” (never trust anyone that uses this phrase to describe anything!). But personally, it helps provide greater context and insight to the established narratives of art and design, and helps challenge what we thought we knew.
In short it makes us look afresh at all art and design.
Perhaps it’s a change at the top of some of the big galleries that is leading this. Or pressure from those that actually make and consume art, to better reflect the art world.
Either way, as far as I’m concerned it is welcome and long overdue…let’s face it, even having to raise this as an issue in 2016 seems ridiculous!
Postscript: Having just been to see the Guerrilla Girls “Is it even worse in Europe” at the Whitechapel Gallery, perhaps things haven’t moved on as far as i/we might have hoped. It seems that structurally the art world is still a long way off being truly representative. But despite their findings, what i’ve seen this year has impressed me, and i hope it is a sign of things to come.