King Woman celebrates female artists who explore themes of personal identity and femininity
Female artist advocacy ArtLeadHer is collaborating with fashion icon and philanthropist Donna Karan for an art exhibition and month of cultural programming in celebration of the 32nd-annual Women’s History Month.
Curated by ArtLeadHer founder Mashonda Tifrere, King Woman will present a varied-media selection of work from 15 emerging and mid-career artists who explore themes of personal identity and femininity.
While the month will include conversations, receptions, and panels featuring experts such as Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, director at Jack Shainman Gallery, and Carmen Hermo, an associate curator at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
The venue for King Woman, Urban Zen, was formerly home to Donna Karan’s late husband Stephan Weiss’ art studio and has since been repurposed into a cultural venue honouring his legacy.
For the exhibition, you can expect to see the work of female artists ranging from portraiture and textiles to abstract gestural painting and photography.
"Artists selected for this show project their own gender identity in a powerful and unabashed way. The exhibition’s title, King Woman, intends to subvert the cultural notion that women should aspire to be just a ‘Goddess’ or a ‘Queen'," explains Mashonda. "Each artwork selected for King Woman emotively positions women subjects as the pinnacle of power and strength, while evoking a deeply human connection with the viewer."
In alignment with ArtLeadHer’s practice of exhibiting emerging female artists alongside established names, King Woman will feature four works from Swoon. Other artists include figurative textile artist Bisa Butler (who recently exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of American History); Brooklyn-raised, “neo-female” painter Genesis Tramaine; Tawny Chatmon; Yulia Bas; Reisha Perlmutter; Lacey McKinney; Erin Armstrong; Lucinda Grange; Annette Hur; Delphine Diallo; Sandra Chevrier; Dagmar van Weeghel; Christine Wagner; and Elizabeth Waggett.
ArtLeadHer’s work toward heightening female presence in the arts is twofold. Firstly: since its launch on Women’s Day 2016, the organisation has hosted exhibitions that highlight emerging female artists alongside more established names.
ArtLeadHer operates in a traditional gallery structure, giving 60% of proceeds from sold works to the artist. The remainder of sales proceeds—leading into the second part of ArtLeadHer’s women-in-the-arts advocacy mission—will benefit ArtLeadHer’s new Foundation headquarters at (and in partnership with) Mana Contemporary in Jersey City.
The new facility, which seeks to expand ArtLeadHer’s roving mission to increase the representation of women in the visual arts, will provide services and programming to girls grades 8 to 12 through offerings such as artist talks and studio visits; museum and gallery trips; college readiness/guidance counseling and assistance with compilation of art portfolios for admissions applications; artist-in-residence opportunities; exposure to professional mentors; and more.
Said Donna Karan of the partnership: "When I look at Mashonda and all that she is doing with ArtLeadHer, she’s connecting the dots between women, art and our community. She brings together the most beautiful artists, highlights their talent and soul.
"She’s raising awareness and inspiring change, and that truly expresses what Urban Zen is about – Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Community and Positive Change."
King Woman will be on view at Urban Zen in New York City (705 Greenwich Street) through Sunday 7 April. Visit urbanzen.com to find out more.