Exhibitions United Kingdom

London galleries show art’s other half

A “substantial” number of women artists are exhibiting in the city this weekend

Contemporary Art Society is staging an exhibition of three women painters. Above, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, To Tell Them Where It’s Got To, 2013

Are London galleries cracking art’s glass ceiling? Around half of the venues taking part in this weekend’s London Gallery Day, during which spaces will stay open late and hold special events, are showing women artists.

A solo show of Eva Rothschild’s new work inaugurates Stuart Shave/Modern Art’s new space on Helmet Row. Ancient and Modern will be showing pieces by the German artist Salome Ghazanfari, while the non-commercial Contemporary Art Society is staging an exhibition of three women painters: Phoebe Unwin, Clare Woods and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. The 29-year-old Rachel Adams will take over Domobaal in WC1.

The number of women artists during London Gallery Day is “quite substantial” says Domo Baal, one of the founders of the event. Given that blue-chip galleries tend to pay more attention to women artists who are “dead or nearly dead”, Baal says “it is lovely to see so many young women artists given exposure this weekend.” Caroline Douglas, the director of the Contemporary Arts Society, says that she has “always had her eye on” gender inequality in the art world. “The imbalance is improving, but the progress, as in other sectors of the professional world, is slow,” she says. The Contemporary Arts Society is certainly doing its part: of the 49 works the institution acquired for regional museums in the past 18 months, 75% were by women artists. “That was not a policy, rather serendipity,” she says.

But the shows by the heavy-hitting galleries are still dominated by male artists. Gagosian Gallery is exhibiting enormous marble and leather sculptures by the Italian artist Giuseppe Penone and Victoria Miro is presenting a new collage by Christian Holstad. Meanwhile, Parasol Unit, a contemporary art foundation, is holding the first London solo show of Shezad Dawood’s work, featuring the UK premiere of “Towards the Possible Film”. One of the most talked-about shows this weekend is the Dairy’s “Every Angel has a Dark Side”, showing 20 years of Julian Schnabel’s paintings. The Dairy will also be hosting a free talk between the New York artist and the Serpentine Gallery’s co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist on Friday evening.

For more info, see: www.londongalleryday.com

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