From March 2019 to March 2020, Richard Saltoun Gallery dedicated 100% of its exhibition and art fair programme to women artists. Titled 100% Women, the initiative was implemented to address the gender inequality that persists in the art world and encourage wider industry action through debate, dialogue and collaboration.
It quickly became apparent to us that the gender gap was wider than imagined: that work by female artists was not included in art history books; not included in museum and institutional collections; not included in major international auction sales; and generally not exhibited or known about. We came to the realisation that the key to change was through education and patronage.
The 12-month programme complemented the gallery's long-standing commitment to supporting under-recognised and under-represented artists. This was achieved through a combination of gallery exhibitions, art fair presentations, a public events programme, external collaborations and digital exhibitions hosted on its new online platform – all of which featured artists represented by the gallery as well as emerging artists and artists without direct representation in order to achieve greater inclusivity.
As the gallery still includes male artists on its roster, we have begun introducing them back into the exhibitions programme.
From March 2020, to complement exhibitions showing work by male artists, we will continue the spirit and ambition of 100% Women – focusing our efforts on addressing imbalances within our own programme.
We will invite female curators, writers and art historians to contribute and collaborate with us across our exhibition and art fair programmes, ensuring that no presentation is lacking in equal gender representation.
Event highlights from the inaugural 100% Women programme included:
- At Independent New York (March 2019), we donated a percentage of profits from our fair sales to A.I.R. Gallery, a non-profit organisation that supports the open exchange of ideas and risk-taking by women artists.
Over the summer as part of Mayfair Art Weekend 2019, Penny Slinger discussed feminism, surrealism and tantra in the context of her exhibition 'Tantric Transformations' with acclaimed writer and art critic Hettie Judah.
Dr. Kate McMillan presenting key findings from her 2019 Freelands Foundation report ‘Representation of Female Artists in Britain' at the gallery in November 2019, along with three years of data on 120 commercial galleries in London to consider the role the commercial sector plays in overcoming many of the barriers to entry women artists face. Watch the full lecture here.
At the end of 2019, the gallery hosted The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s annual Festive Members’ Celebration in London, an organisation which focuses on releasing the potential of women entrepreneurs; to facilitate and support the growth of successful businesses, leading to a reclamation of the rights and freedoms these women are often denied.
We hosted Art Review magazine and networking club Marguerite London in February 2020 for back-to-back talks in the last week of the 100% Women programme, addressing topics explored in our two part exhibition series on the maternal experience.
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