"In France, nobody counts the number of men and women in exhibitions. Very few people notice that sometimes there are no women," says Camille Morineau, the curator of elles@centrepompidou exhibition, to the LA Times. "Excluding men and showing only women is a revolutionary gesture of affirmative action." Revolutionary gesture, indeed. France's Centre Pompidou houses the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe, so the banishment of male artists for an entire year is quite an expression of solidarity with women in the art world.
Though debuting on the coattails of the successful openings of women-centered projects like the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; the WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution exhibition, which was shown throughout North America and Europe; and the web-based International Museum of Women, elles@centrepompidou is in a bit of a precarious position. On the one hand they are helping to raise the profile of female artists. On the other, if people don't show up, the experiment could be seen as proof that women artists really aren't as good as men. Trés tricksy, no?
The exhibition will be separated into seven major themes--pioneer, free fire, body slogan, the activist body, a room of one's own, wordworks, and immaterials--and a variety of mediums will appear, including painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design, and film. The work will be rotated to maintain a freshness for repeat viewings, and events--lectures and discussions--will accompany the display.
If you're interested in whose work will be featured in elles@centrepompidou, here is the briefest glimpse:
Maria-Elena Vieira da Silva
* The artwork at the top of this piece is by Barbara Kruger