This Art Fair Has An Important Message About How Women Are Depicted In Art

by Sarah Fielding

In times of turmoil and change, expression through art has long been used to create conversation and spark a movement. And the political climate we're in now has been no exception. In efforts to create direct engagement with the community of New York City and start a conversation over the male gaze, the Women x Women art fair, open from May 19 - June 2 on Manhattan's Lower East Side, hopes to be an eye-opening look at how women are portrayed in art.

The fair, created by Tictail, a social marketplace that houses independent brands spanning coming from over 140 countries, and Absolut Art, the alcohol's curated art store, will feature 11 emerging female artists' unique murals in busy, outdoor locations across the neighborhood. Each piece reflects the artists' worries and frustrations with how women are represented in art and seen by the world.

Visitors can wander around the Lower East Side while tracking each piece's location while learning more about each individual artist through an interactive digital map.

"We’re inspired by the thought that anyone on a walk around the city could suddenly stumble upon these women’s stories."

“Connecting people with artists from around the world is at the core of our mission at Absolut Art and one of the most thrilling aspects is getting to hand the microphone to strong female voices shaping creative hubs like Stockholm, Berlin, Havana, and LA. We believe the problem isn’t that diversity of thought doesn’t exist in the art world, but rather that it’s rarely given the platform it deserves," Nahema Mehta, CEO and cofounder of Absolut Art said in a press release. "That’s why we’re so excited to, quite literally, give these women the streets of New York to showcase their unique and powerful points of view. We’re inspired by the thought that anyone on a walk around the city could suddenly stumble upon these women’s stories."

What Inspired Women X Women

A big source of inspiration to create the fair, which fights for multidimensional femininity, came from a 1989 report by the Guerilla Girls. They discovered that less than five percent of the Met's modern art collection were done by female artists. However, 85 percent of the nude portraits were of women. Over 20 years later, in 2012, the group recounted and there was minimal change.

Carla Fuentes/Absolut Art

“One of the most incredible things about Tictail is the amazing community of female artists and creators that are passionate about making relevant, ground-breaking, and beautiful work," Carl Waldekranz, CEO and cofounder of Tictail said in a press release. "But while 58 percent of the top selling brands on Tictail are women, it’s incredibly disheartening that the diversity we cherish on our platform often doesn’t translate to the art world as a whole. That’s why I’m so excited not only about giving these women a platform to share their work, but giving them an opportunity to introduce themselves to a larger audience on their own terms."

Jeanette Getrost/Absolut Art

Each piece of art is available for purchase here. Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to the international non-profit, Women for Women. The organization helps women living in warn torn or and conflict areas gain support and learn skills to move from poverty to economic self-sufficiency. Since 1993, Women for Women has been able to help more than 462,000 marginalized women.

If you're in the New York City area the next couple of weeks, head downtown, check it out, and help keep this important conversation going.