Miami Art Week events aim to close gender gap

During Miami Art Week, female artists address gender bias, inequality.

Three events will put racial and gender biases on display during Art Basel and Miami Art Week.

The 2014 study "The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships," conducted by the Association of Art Museum Directors, found women hold fewer positions of leadership in museums and earn less money for doing the same jobs. In the 2000s, men dominated most of the solo exhibits in major American art institutions such as the Whitney and the Guggenheim museums, according to the 2015 Artnews article "Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures, Fixes."

The three Art Week events will address that inequity through panel discussions and exhibits led by female artists and industry leaders.

Girl Talk Lounge in Wynwood will include three days of panel discussions. Prizm Art Fair in Little Haiti will host a conversation on the role of black women in the art world. And Aqua Art Miami in Miami Beach will present a panel on unconscious gender bias in the art industry.

Girl Talk Lounge

Friday-Sunday, Dec. 2-4 at Wynwood Warehouse Project, 450 NW 27th St., Miami. Admission is free with RSVP at GirlTalkLounge.com.

Local muralist Jaquelyn "JPuma" Puma will be the featured artist at the lounge, showcasing a new collection inspired by her perception of how media promotes unrealistic images of the female body. Puma usually creates spray-painted murals and canvases, but for this collection, she used a technique to print photographic images on wood.

"I just feel like young girls have this image in their minds that they have to look like a plastic Barbie doll with makeup coated on their face," Puma says. "That's constantly flashed on social media. It's on every magazine cover, and it's not real. It's an unrealistic lifestyle."

The female figure isn't new subject matter for Puma. She began her career painting self-portraits as way of dealing with her own insecurities. "I was bullied a lot when I was younger, so I started painting as an outlet," she says.

When she began painting murals at FAT Village after moving to Fort Lauderdale, she encountered resistance from male muralists and didn't find help from women in the field. That's one of the reasons she wanted to be a part of Girl Talk Lounge.

"Graffiti in itself is completely male-dominated," she says. "It's very hard to survive and on top of that make money in that industry. Girls don't want to help girls out because it's such a narrow industry."

But she says things are changing. "I just got asked to do a mural with a girl, which I had never been asked before, so something is changing," she says. "This year, women are wanting to lend a hand, and break that mold."

Girl Talk Lounge will also feature daily panel discussions covering entrepreneurship, wellness and fashion, as well as free makeup and hair touchups.

'Black Femininity in Contemporary Art' with Karen Seneferu

4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Prizm Art Fair, 7230 NW Miami Court, Little Haiti. Admission is $15 for one day, and $50 for a multiday pass. PrizmArtFair.com.

Working as an artist in the San Francisco Bay Area, Karen Seneferu often found herself as the only black female artist in a show. Although she was always grateful for the exposure, but felt her voice alone wasn't enough.

"I felt isolated as a black woman artist. I felt that my artwork was a small voice that was representing a much larger complex art community," Seneferu says. "One person couldn't represent all those voices and ideas."

So she founded and curated "The Black Woman Is God: Reprogramming That God Code" exhibit in July in San Francisco, featuring 125 black female artists, including visual artists, painters, sculptors, dancers, singers and musicians.

She'll share her experience organizing the exhibit and showcase some of the artwork in a slide show during a talk at Prizm Art Fair on Friday. Many of the artworks explore the challenges black women face in society, as well as their political, cultural and social roles.

"The real intention of the exhibition is to create space for black women artists, who have little or no access to the art world unless they're chosen by this larger cultural framework that determines who gets in and who gets out," Seneferu says. "I want to be able to shift that as much as I can."

'Unconscious Bias and the Art World' panel discussion

10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Aqua Art Miami, 1530 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is $20. AquaArtMiami.com.

The Association of Women Art Dealers will lead a panel addressing how gender affects female artists when trying to sell their work or commission a show.

"Women artists still don't garner the same amount of money for their work," says one of the panelists, Dawn Delikat, associate executive director of Pen and Brush, a New York-based nonprofit that supports female artists.

"Even if a gallery believes in that work and wants to champion that artist," Delikat says, "it's a difficult sell because collectors know that the value of women's art over time does not go up as much as their male counterparts, so it's kind of seen as a risky investment."

For the moderator of the panel, Susan Mumford, it was vital to have a man on the panel, Winston Peters, a business analyst.

"If you have a panel fully of women, you're most likely going to bring only women to the audience," says Mumford, founder and CEO of the Association of Women Art Dealers. "I had very intentionally brought together women leaders, because we all got experiences of what we observe in the industry. But at the same time, I want men to be aware of it, was well."

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