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Art Show Casts A Spotlight On Gender Equality

Miami-based Nathalie Alfonso washing away her own work that visibilizes invisible labor.

Gender equality is one of the issues at the forefront of the national conversation right now, and that’s what an art show at Brickell City Centre is exploring as part of Miami Art Week.

The show is called  “Fair.”

Art installations are set up around the shopping mall, an empty storefront is transformed into a gallery and the CMX movie theater is showing free video screenings.

Zoe Lukov, director of exhibitions for Faena Art in Miami Beach and Anthony Spinello, founder of the Spinello Projects gallery in Little River,  are the curators for the show. They spoke with WLRN about Fair.

The name of the art show is Fair. That's it. Why that name?

SPINELLO: Art Basel is a time where actually you can really understand the imbalance because you have not just Art Basel, but all the satellite art fairs and there is a commonality-- and that is  there is a lack of women artists being represented.

LUKOV: It’s about being fair to women at a moment when I think we're recognizing inequality on a national level.

How did you decide which artists to include in the show?

LUKOV: We identified the fact that we were talking about commerce, we were talking about fair markets, we were talking about fair wage.

So we talked to artists who are dealing with those issues. Then we identified iconic historic women who've been operating in this field like the Guerrilla Girls, like Yoko Ono.

The Fair is for women or women-identified artists. There are a number of trans or genderqueer artists that are included

The show is being promoted as an alternative non-commercial art fair. What is a non-commercial art fair?

LUKOV: A non-commercial Art Fair is one where you can't buy anything. So that's what we're doing. You can't buy anything.

Art doesn't have to be about making an object to consume. It can be about an experience and it can be  a way of creating a convening, if you will, or creating a dialogue around certain ideas.

SPINELLO: We wanted to be able to provide a platform for a message that is more valuable than anything that you could buy at an art fair.

But what if someone really, really, really likes the art? Can they still not buy it?

SPINELLO: Yes, but not at the fair.

Zoe, you've said this show is a step toward dismantling the patriarchy. What does the patriarchy look like in the art world?

LUKOV: It looks like museums that have been run by men and have collections of mostly male artists and donors that are often mostly men. It looks like galleries that are owned by men and represent a lot of men [who] are male artists. I think that's a really simplified way to talk about it and I hope no one takes me to task for that one. But we're talking about systems of power in general. I think that the patriarchy is a system that we have been accustomed to living within forever, so it affects every industry.

Fair was planned long before the avalanche of sexual harassment allegations we've seen in recent months. It seems for the first time women are bravely telling their stories publicly in large numbers, they are believed and there are consequences for the accused. How do you think the show fits into this current conversation?

SPINELLO: This is a conversation that is not new and it just happens that this year some very high profile members of the arts community, film community are in the spotlight unfortunately. Seems like the time to really have a conversation.

LUKOV: The message is definitely about creating a space to address gender inequality that attempts gender equality. I don't know that we got there but we try to.

The messages are so diverse that are coming from women of all ages, from all these different countries, different races, different backgrounds, different arts training, different experiences-- that's the point.

We are a multitude and we are different and we have different things to say.  And we approach our womanhood a certain way, or not. And we have different experiences and that should be out there in full display. The same way that we see a variety of different men's voices out there all the time.

Fair runs Dec. 7-10 at the Brickell City Centre. For more information visit www.fairmarket.art

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