It’s time to raise our hands

Redhead girl raising her hand

When I was 19 years old, a friend and I were setting up the recycling programme at our university. We started with the dormitories and then expanded to academic buildings. In order to educate people at an earlier stage in life and to encourage good habits early, we visited local schools to run a programme on reducing-reusing-recycling*, as well as the general consumption of water, electricity and the like.

One afternoon, we had concluded the formal presentation to 10-year-old schoolchildren and were ready to take questions. I recall that there were about 25 pupils sitting at round tables, seating about 7 children each. The class was equally divided between girls and boys, and they were scattered around the room.

I invited them to fire questions at us. A hand shot into the air. Question answered. Another several hands. And so on. Although it was good that children were engaged, there was a problem; only the boys raised their hands! Of the questions we took, not a single one came from a girl. They had self un-selected.

If, at 10 years of age, girls are self-unselecting when they’re in the company of boys, it’s no wonder that women are still so far behind in the professional world.

A similar thing happened again recently, when I was hosting a Be Smart About Art networking event. An artist took the audience of art world professionals on a tour his photography exhibition. We then invited questions from the room of artists and curators. Of the twenty people in the room, there were three men (including the artist). Guess who asked all of the questions? The two men in the audience.

What can be done about this? Women need to take conscious action. As Sheryl Sandberg writes in her book Lean In, we ladies need to, “sit at the table.”

So please, join me to take a seat! And men, as you’re already seated, please make room and welcome us. Together, we can make this world a better, happier, healthier and more peaceful place.


*The 3 Rs: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. The order of words is important:
Step 1: Reduce what you use (choose loose vegebatles from the supermarket and carry a shopping bag with you at all times).
Step 2: Reuse what you have (use plastic food containers for freezing leftovers).
Step 3: Recycle when there is no more reusable life in the item.
Here’s a great cause to support if you’re keen on helping the environment: Global Action Plan

Also see the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), a trade network I founded in 2010 that facilitates business and collaborations between art dealers, gallerists and consultants. On 21st May 2014, the AWAD New York City Chapter holds its Launch Gala.

Posted in All posts, AWAD

Chris King to exhibit photos at Oil and Water Gallery, Wandsworth (28 Jan – 15 Feb 2014)

Chris King, "Snow outside Wall, Texas - 76904" (2013), C-type print, Edn of 5, 76.2 x 114.3 (30 x 45 in)

Chris King, “Snow outside Wall, Texas – 76904” (2013), C-type print, Edn of 5, 76.2 x 114.3 (30 x 45 in)

A selection of Chris King’s photographs are to be shown in People & Places.

At the emerging Oil & Water Gallery  in Wandsworth Town, London, Director Penny MacFarlane has selected the photographic medium as one of the gallery’s early showcases. This is encouraging news as London has lagged behind in recognising this medium as an art form. In recent times however, this trend has been changing with an uprise of shows at museums and galleries alike, in addition to photography prizes.

MacFarlane’s show is yet more evidence of  welcome change for an art form that is well established as a collectable genre at auction houses around the world .

Selecting a theme of People & Places, several of King’s South/South-West images as well as Venetian street photography portraits will be displayed.

The dramatic USA images show sweeping shapes in a snow-covered terrain. One photo was a long exposure taken at night with car headlights beaming through the scene. This is contrasted by the paired piece, which presents the bright white landscape of West Texas. The Venetian pictures capture Carnevale-goers, and required instantaneous composition, lighting and focus, as the photographer was using a rangefinder camera to capture fleeting moments.

All photographs were taken between 2012-13 and are  printed in small limited editions. 

Chris and I will  be in attendance at the private view on Tuesday, 28th January, between 6.30-8.30pm. Please contact me for a Private View invite (essential).

The show continues until 15th February.

Gallery opening times: Open Daily 10:30 – 5 | Thursdays until 8pm | Sundays until 4pm
Address: 340 Old York Road | Wandsworth Town | London SW18 1SS
(See map below)

Useful links:
Oil & Water Gallery: website
Chris King Photography: website

Posted in All posts

Reflecting on the legacies of Frieze Art Week

Full piece - headerMimi Winsor, Grinding the Wind, Chelsea College of Art and Design Parade Ground

Frieze Art Week, as it is now known, has come and gone in a whirlwind. Every October, there are seemingly more exhibitions and fairs, and this year there were at least 19 in total. Undoubtedly, my count is still missing a few key events…

I’ve heard a number of people debate whether or not it is advantageous to stage events during the busy week. On the one hand, collectors from all over the world descend upon the UK capital, and thus there is potential for receiving the ideal audience. On the other hand, any single event is up against a lot of competition for visibility –  and thus, going unnoticed in a sea of frenzied artists, gallerists, curators collectors, critics and others is likely.

Anyone who spent any amount of time in London in 2012 will no doubt be familiar with the concept of legacy, as ‘Olympics legacy’ was a buzz phrase of the time. I have applied this concept to art events ever since, and my burning question following the art week is this:

What is the legacy of Frieze Art Week, for artists, gallerists, curators, collectors and the industry?

Effective planning is part and parcel to legacy. This brings to mind emerging artist Mimi Winsor, who launched a performance-based piece for which I  judged the prize that provided her the opportunity.

Susan Mumford, James White, Mimi Winsor and Martin Newth

Susan Mumford, James White, Mimi Winsor and Martin Newth

The resulting performance piece is ‘Grinding the Wind’, presenting  an impressive installation on the Chelsea College of Art Parade Ground. Not only did the recent graduate stage performances during the frenzied week, which means she caught the out-of-towners and those individuals (like myself) who caught it mid-running spring, the show continues until 3rd November 2013 with live performances throughout.

Having announced these dates and times from day one as part of the exhibition marketing plan gave Londoners – and near-Londoners, the option to attend when they weren’t so rushed off their feet. And furthermore, the artist’s marketing efforts post-Frieze have even more likelihood to be noticed.

For long-term legacy of the performance piece, a video recording and still images document the original live event at the private view. These reords suspend the piece in time, for the forseeable future. And in Mimi’s case, the week represents the launch of the emerging artist’s career.

It will also be insightful to compare and contrast success for Mimi’s show in the weeks that follow Frieze Art Week. This will consider attendance to performances, achieved press, new opportunities that are offered and related enquiries.

What do you think results in effective legacy for art shows? And what is your personal experience of this?

Please leave your comments below.

See a live performance of Mimi Winsor’s ‘Grinding the Wind‘:
Until 3rd November 2013, at 11.30am and 2pm on the following days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Sunday

*The ‘This is This’ Commission was Founded in 2012 by Chelsea Graduate and Artist James Paul White. Dunan Smith of ACAVA was also a judge.

Photographs © Chris King 2013.

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Mimi Winsor, recipient of ‘This is This’ Commission, presents groundbreaking work at Chelsea College of Art Parade Ground

Mimi Winsor invite

For the second year running, I have been a judge for the ‘This is This’ Commission, awarded to a new graduate at Chelsea College of Art. Artist James White, a Chelsea Graduate himself, founded the event and is patron. Duncan Smith of ACAVA (artist studios) is also a sponsor of the annual award given to a Chelsea graduate. On behalf of Be Smart About Art, I provide mentoring to the commission recipient, to help advance creative practice and work towards developing a successful career. The winner is provided funding towards a new work of art to present at Chelsea College of Art Parade Ground during Frieze Art Week in October.

This year, Mimi Winsor presents ‘Grinding the Wind‘. Continue reading

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Recap of an art show I opened — ‘Home: Contemporary Female Masters’

Header image

On Friday 11th October 2013, I had the honour of being the opening speaker for an exhibition at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute, London, the show of which was curated by London-based Bulgarian artist Paola Minekov. Titled ‘Home: Contemporary Female Masters’, the exposition featured recent works by seven women artists:

Caroline Underwood, Diana Ali, Malika Sqalli, Minna George, Tamar Lev-On, Tina Mammoser and Paola Minekov. Continue reading

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