“When it comes to silencing women,
Western culture has had thousands of years of practice.”
Quote from Women & Power by Mary Beard
(Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge)
In 2020, prompted by the lack of equality in the Danish art scene, I initiated a regular series of conversations with key people – people who are working to create real change vis-à-vis gender equality among artists.
This equality project stems from my deep interest in history and inclusion of diversity, and my desire to put an end to discrimination against women and to expand the field of art history. This interest was further fuelled by the excellent education at Goldsmiths in London and their specialist library: The Women’s Art Library
It is crucial to talk about female artists and feminist work – they have been forgotten, they have not been heard, their works have not been shown or, as the French art historian Camille Morineau has said, they have simply been erased from history.
Right now, art history is neither binary nor non-binary. It remains a monolith, a structural power and way of thinking, which the museum world never even questioned until about a decade ago. Most people regard Scandinavia as a haven for equality, but museum history and practice is a deeply misogynistic culture – also here in Denmark.
Gender is not just a trend that fills in gaps in the history of art, but also an essential part of art history and art theory, on equal footing with new areas of basic research – for example, colonisation and race issues that redefine the history of art, forcing it to take a long hard look at itself and its methodology.
In 2020 I interviewed the art collector and patron Valeria Napoleone, and the interview was published in Magasinet Kunst, CHART Publication and Børsen.
In 2021 I interviewed Camille Morineau, an acclaimed curator and art historian, on the subject of gender equality in the world of art. In 2009-2011, Camille Morineau devised and curated the pioneering exhibition Elles@centrepompidou at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. She is also the co-founder and director of AWARE, a non-profit organisation, research centre and archiving platform that promotes work by women artists. The interview was published in the WOMEN in ART-edition of Magasinet Kunst in 2021.
In 2019 I came up with the idea of an issue of Magasinet Kunst (DK) devoted to women and gender and was co-editor of this special women in the arts edition in 2021. The magazine also included my critical essay on sexism in the Danish art scene.
In 2022 I interviewed the Minister of Culture in Denmark on diversity in the world of visual arts in Denmark.
- Diversity in Danish Art? Interview with the Minister of CultureBy Augusta Atla9th of May 2022. Published in Danish in KUNSTEN.NU (Portrait of the Danish Minister of Culture, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen. Photo by Augusta Atla. 2022.…
- Information is what gives value to artists and their work. Interview with curator and art historian Camille Morineau by the Danish artist Augusta AtlaMAGASINET KUNST, May 2021. Female artists and writers have been forgotten, they have not been heard, their works have not been shown, or they have…
- Interview with Valeria Napoleone by the Danish artist Augusta Atla in Børsen Pleasure 2020Interview with Valeria Napoleone by Augusta Atla in Børsen, oct 2020TRANSLATION: culturebites.dk For 23 years, the London-based art collector Valeria Napoleone has been building up…
- Interview with Valeria Napoleone by Augusta Atla – volume IIInterview with Valeria Napoleone by Augusta Atla for CHART ART FAIR, August 2020.
- Interview with Valeria Napoleone by Augusta Atla – volume IPublished in MAGASINET KUNST (DK), May 2020.
“If you do a Gerhard Richter show, people think it will be a blockbuster. It won’t be. Whereas Hilma will. Museums at the level of program and board are suffering from being behind the times.”
Helen Molesworth, former Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
“The primary ambition of AWARE is to rewrite the history of art on an equal footing. Placing women on the same level as their male counterparts and making their works known are long overdue,” states Camille Morineau on AWARE’s website
“Let’s take as our basis that men and women are equally good artists, and then say, ‘Okay, if they are equal then why is there this difference in the market?’ It starts with the galleries. They don’t represent enough women in their program. There is also a structural issue: you need to educate collectors and you need to confront them with quality.”
Marc Payot, Partner and Vice President, Hauser & Wirth
“I call bullshit on the idea that it takes a while to see change. How much more time does it take? If a new generation of art historians and curators have to be re-sensitized to this then, my God, We have amnesia at this point. It really comes down to people putting their money where their mouths are.”
Michelle Millar Fisher, Curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
“There is a perception that change has been so substantial, when the reality is not the case. There is such a huge imbalance that some kind of radical gesture is required.”
Jessica Morgan, Director of the Dia Art Foundation
“Female artists and writers have been forgotten, they have not been heard, their works have not been shown, or they have simply been erased from history.”
Camille Morineau (Founder of AWARE)
“The explanation that women [are poorly represented because they] have often decided to leave the art world? I don’t believe that for a minute. I think there have been women working hard in the art world forever and if we haven’t seen them, then shame on us.”
Brooke Davis Anderson, Director, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art Museum