Art Insider: New online directory celebrates thousands of women artists in LA and nationwide

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A new online directory features women and non-binary artists, an LA gallery celebrates its 10th year, and two exhibitions include photographic depictions that celebrate and uplift the Black experience. 

A new artist directory features women and non-binary artists

Now Be Here #1, LA” (2016). Photo by Isabel Avila and Carrie Yury. Image courtesy of Kim Schoenstadt and Hauser & Wirth. 

In 2016, artist Kim Schoenstadt organized a photoshoot to document women-identifying and non-binary artists in Los Angeles, and 700 women showed up for the event (called Now Be Here) at Hauser & Wirth. The project has now been replicated in Washington D.C., Miami, and Brooklyn.

Now Schoenstadt has worked with collaborators to launch  an artist directory website that includes the artists who went to the photoshoots, and invites other women-identifying and non-binary creatives to add themselves into the directory. As many galleries include artist rosters that are predominantly male, male, the Now Be Here photographs prove the breadth of active female artists in cities nationwide. 

The website hopes to continue this momentum, acting as a bridge between the artists included and potential collectors, galleries and museums. Each listing includes the artist’s bio, medium, website link, and an artwork image. Viewers can search artists by location, genre, or medium. Schoenstadt thinks of the directory as a natural extension of the original photo shoots. She explains, “My hope with both the photographs and the directory is to make it easy to find and connect with this population of artists.”

I asked Schoenstadt if it was important to launch the site during our moment of social isolation. She said, “With exhibitions and opportunities being canceled, it is one thing we as artists can do to advocate for ourselves and support one another.” 

The directory is free for artists to list their work, and the site is supported solely through donations. 

LA’s Night Gallery turns 10 years old

Jesse Mockrin, “Blinded, ridiculed, pitied,” 2020. Oil on linen, 52 x 74  inches.
Photo courtesy of Night Gallery.

When Night Gallery started 10 years ago, it was located in a small Lincoln Heights storefront. It hosted openings that took place from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The gallery quickly elevated to a trendy hotspot. Now it’s upgraded to a much larger space downtown, and openings no longer take place during the witching hour, though Night Gallery still  maintains a progressive artist-focused ethos.

COVID-19 means not exactly having a communal celebration as envisioned. Still, the gallery is celebrating with a two-part exhibition titled “Majeure Force.” The press release explains that the show “is named for our current moment, paying tribute to the community that surrounds us through good times and bad, and is a nod to our own role as a major force in the burgeoning art world in Los Angeles, the city we are proud to call home.”  

The exhibition features work by artists who the gallery has worked with over the years, creating a kind of yearbook that nostalgically looks back at the community. 

Gallery owner Davida Nemeroff describes the gallery’s trajectory over the years: “When I moved to LA 10 years ago, I just wanted a menstruation shack to hang out in, and inadvertently, I created the best gallery in the world." 

The second installment of the exhibition opened this weekend and is on view by appointment through August. 

June 27 – August 29, 2020  

“Spotlight” at Dominique 

Atiya Jones, “Mom, As Above,” 2005. Ilford 400, High Gloss Photographic Print, 20" x 13". Image courtesy of Dominique Gallery. 

Kelsey Arrington, “Marketplace,” 2020. Limited Edition Archival Giclee Print, 20 x 16 inches. Image courtesy of Dominique Gallery.

An online group exhibition at Dominique Gallery highlights  photography as a direct response to our current moment. While the gallery is currently closed due to the pandemic, the exhibition utilizes the online art sales platform, Artsy, to present a rotating array of works by six young photographers. Gallerist Dominique Clayton told me, “I didn't want the pandemic and limited resources to stop my abilities to highlight artists who want and need to express themselves in this moment.”  

While history is often told and understood through documentary photographs, our contemporary image culture gives the medium a more urgent primacy. Titled “SPOTLIGHT,” the exhibition highlights artists who use photography as an expression of identity, whether documenting the community around them, utilizing methods of collage, or staging stylized photoshoots.

The press release explains that “ in today’s climate, there are so many issues and people that need our immediate attention and action. ... Photography also works well as a device alongside other media to convey a larger narrative about stereotypes and objectification especially in connection to Black and Brown bodies.”

Clayton explained, “Contemporary art in its most basic definition is the art of today produced by artists living right now, so why not intentionally amplify voices of artists, especially young artists of color, who have documented the world through their very own eyes? Dismantling the ’white gaze’ and other historic limitations and prejudices in art, culture, and media is the only way to correct inequity and fully appreciate all that art has to offer.” 

July 24 – October 15, 2020

Caitlin Cherry at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Caitlin Cherry, “Domain Vague (Art McGee),” 2020. Oil on canvas, 59 x 101 inches. Image courtesy of Luis De Jesus Gallery. 

For her new online exhibition, “Corps Sonore,” artist Caitlin Cherry sources her subjects through social media. They include “Instagram influencers, glamour models, rappers, and exotic dancers — Black American femmes who play a dominant role in shaping popular culture without due credit.” 

Cherry paints these women draped in colorful rainbow-hued patterns, pulling them into a new psychedelic context. In an essay accompanying the online show, writer Marisa Olsen describes this as “the alchemical ability to mix the colors of the digital realm.” Cherry superimposes numerical codes onto her paintings (often pulled from web security stamps or captcha codes), creating a layered reference to digital space and the encoded complexities of online reality. 

Alongside her large-scale paintings, Cherry creates digital photographic collages that feel more situated within the real world, yet still play with futuristic fantasy. Set within club-like environments, her characters dance, pose, or pour drinks, while the artist superimposes her own paintings into the backgrounds. Stacks of books collaged into the scene locate the nexus of Cherry’s interests — books on cyberfeminism, gamer theory, and bitcoins. As Olson describes in her essay, Cherry’s online exhibition is “a high-speed connection to a private room within the Viewing Room, a kind of VIP lounge-cum-metaverse manifest for coded looking."

June 30 – October 10, 2020