Sammy Nickalls
January 07, 2016 11:56 am

Are you an art-loving feminist? Then you’re going to want to head over to London next week, because there’s something seriously amazing happening at the Saatchi Gallery.

The gallery, which is currently preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary, is about to open its very first all-female exhibition on January 13th. The exhibition, Champagne Life, runs until March 6th and includes the work of 14 female emerging artists, ranging in their 20s to their 50s, from all over the globe. The title comes from the name of one of the featured works, created by American artist Julia Wachtel.

“[The] light-hearted and ironic title throws into contrast the reality of those labour-intensive, lonely hours in the studio with the perceived glamour of the art world, with its endless launches and parties,” Nigel Hurst, the gallery’s chief executive, told The Guardian about the exhibition’s namesake, pictured below.

“We’ve always supported the work of women artists over the years, many of those have gone on to have key roles in the contemporary art world, but I think there’s still a huge amount of work to be done,” Hurst told The Guardian. “Though women artists are far better represented in contemporary art now, in terms of the number of women artists that are having their work exhibited and shown, there remains a glass ceiling that needs to be addressed.”

The Saatchi Gallery is hoping to put a serious crack in that glass ceiling, which, like many other gender disparities in the world, has to do with a major pay gap. As The Guardian notes:

On top of this, it was found in 2013 that only 31% of represented artists in 134 commercial London galleries were women. “The disparity is being redressed because of the number of women that are making contemporary art, but I still think, like a lot of industries, the art industry suffers from the fact that if you take a break from working it’s perceived that you’re maybe not as serious about your profession as you should be,” Hurst told The Guardian.

“Women artists are no different to women everywhere, they have to juggle family commitments with their working practice,” he continued. “So I think they probably have to keep more plates spinning than their male counterparts.” Wachtel believes that, although she hasn’t been directly discriminated against in the art world, things are different for female artists. “. . . I do think in much more insidious ways things would have happened differently in my career if I was a man,” she told The Guardian. “Male artists are taken more seriously. While one might say it’s problematic to have a show of just women artists, because we don’t have a show advertised as exclusively male, the statistics speak for themselves.”

The art itself doesn’t have a female theme, said 33-year-old Stephanie Quayle, another featured artist in the exhibition. “It’s about pulling together of artists from all over the world and showing how we’re all working so differently and doing what it is that makes us want to get into the studio every day,” she explained.

You can see a preview of the exhibition on the gallery’s website here. BRB, buying my ticket to London.

(Images via Twitter.)

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