Women's History Month started today, and celebrations are already in full swing. One such celebration is happening at the Tate, one of the UK's most illustrious art organisations. The Tate have announced five large-scale exhibits from female artists to be showcased across their galleries following the popular #5WomenArtists social media campaign. In an industry that's largely been dominated by men, with their art taking up most of the wall space at galleries and museums, these exhibits are part of an important initiative to make sure that female artists, get the recognition they deserve.
This time last year, on March 1 2018, the Tate tweeted: "Who would be in your top
#5WomenArtists?" and while that brought all kinds of excellent suggestions from twitter users (including Louise Bourgeois and Georgia O'Keeffe), the Tate's five exhibits will aim to showcase some slightly lesser-known female artists.
In a statement sent to Bustle on Friday, March 1, the Tate revealed the artists they will be featuring, and they include 2013 Turner Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; the melancholy drawings, paintings, and prints of Paula Rego; the textile sculptures of Magdalena Abakanowicz; a retrospective of experimental abstract artist Maria Bartuszová; as well as an exhibition of the multi-sensory works of Haegue Yang.
According to its official website, the #5WomenArtists campaign first began with a question: "Can you name five women artists?" Ask anyone whether they could name five male artists, and I reckon they'd easily reel off Picasso, Monet, Degas — y'know, all the big dogs. But I can't see them being able to recite female artists in the same way. The #5WomenArtists campaign aims to change that, helping educate people about all the fantastic female artists there are to discover.
In the statement sent to Bustle, the Tate wrote that, alongside these five major residencies, there will be several more exhibitions, commissions, and displays of women artists at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives. All of these will take place across 2019 and 2020, with more to be announced as part of Tate’s full 2020 programme this summer.
Fortunately, the Tate aren't the only ones to have taken part in the #5WomenArtists campaign, which was founded in 2015 by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. According to the Tate's statement, more than 1,000 galleries, museums and cultural institutions around the world have since taken part, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, who hosted an online exhibition in March 2017, which highlighted "the lasting impact and contributions these women have all made — and continue to make — to the history of art."
As well as their exhibits, the Tate will also be launching two books to coincide with Women's History Month. The first —The Bigger Picture: Women Who Changed the Art World — is one for younger readers to introduce them to art that their school education might have skipped. The other book is titled The Art of Feminism, which traces the way feminists have come to shape and curate art throughout the years.