Recent Articles
Genesis Tramaine Artspace Edition Debuts at UNTITLED, ART
Artist to Watch
Genesis Tramaine Artspace Edition Debuts at UNTITLED, ART
5 Great Pieces To Bid On in the Together In Distance Auction
Investment Pieces
5 Great Pieces To Bid On in the Together In Distance Auction
What to Say About Your New Robert Longo Print
Living With Art
What to Say About Your New Robert Longo Print
News Of A Very Special Auction
Investment Pieces
News Of A Very Special Auction
10 Questions for LatchKey Gallery co-founders
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for LatchKey Gallery co-founders Natalie Kates and Amanda L. Uribe
INTERVIEW: Elmgreen & Dragset
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Elmgreen & Dragset 'What We Need to do, As Cultural Workers Today, Is to Find a New Way of Getting Back Our Dignity as Citizens'
10 Questions for RESORT Gallery co-founders Seth Adelsberger and
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for RESORT Gallery co-founders Seth Adelsberger and Alex Ebstein
10 Questions for River Gallery Founder Carl E. Smith
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for River Gallery Founder Carl E. Smith
10 Questions for Davis Editions and Originals Founder Jeff Davis
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Davis Editions and Originals Founder Jeff Davis
10 Questions for Baby Blue Gallery Founder Caleb Beck
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Baby Blue Gallery Founder Caleb Beck
10 Questions for Carvalho Park's Jennifer Carvalho
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Carvalho Park co-Founder Jennifer Carvalho
The Making of Love, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme
Close Look
'A Piece of Art That I am Really Proud Of' - Rihanna on Love, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme
INTERVIEW: Sterling Ruby
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Sterling Ruby 'In America, often the response to negative aspects of the system is to retreat to platitudes about morals and family values. In this way nothing is achieved.'
INTERVIEW: Kerry James Marshall
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Kerry James Marshall 'I never think of artworks as having a quality that’s intended to mobilize people to action. They don’t make people do things. But they do put questions in the mind of a viewer that they may not have entertained before...'
Come On Our Virtual Studio Visit With Maria Jimena Herrera
Meet the Artist
Come On Our Virtual Studio Visit With Maria Jimena Herrera

Q&A

A Q&A with Ghada Amer: "Being a Woman Artist Closes All Doors for Solo Museum Shows"

By

A Q&A with Ghada Amer: "Being a Woman Artist Closes All Doors for Solo Museum Shows"
Ghada Amer - Photo courtesy Cheim & Read, New York and Arts/Industry. Photographer Scott Seifert

Ghada Amer moved with her family from Egypt to France at the age of eleven, relocating to the United States in 1995. While studying art at the Villa Arson in Nice, France in the 1980s, she discovered that some painting classes were reserved for male students; this exclusion fuelled her interest in making work about gender and sexuality. Using sewing and embroidery, as well as ceramic, collage and drawing, her mixed-media paintings refer to representations of women in pornography. Amer’s eroticized line drawings have both figurative and abstract elements, her subjects either exposed or obscured to varying degrees among layers of stitched lines. Her images often contain feminist slogans, which are repeated over the work’s surface. In this work, a female face is partially obscured by overlaid text that reads ‘Do not judge a woman on her knees, you never know how tall she is when she stands’, a quote from Where Pain Thrives (2017) by poet Mie Hansson. This combination of provocative imagery and empowering language sees Amer subverting the idea that women in pornography are simply one-dimensional sexualized beings, but rather thinking subjects too, with inalienable dignity.

 

Great Women Artists is available for $59

The preceding paragrap is excerpted from Great Women Artists, wherein Amer is among the 400 artists, from 54 countries, over 500 years featured. The most extensive fully illustrated book of women artists ever published, the compendium (published by Phaidon and edited by Rebecca Morrill) acknowledges the rampant exclusion and under-appreciation of women in the art world, creating an overdue paper trail that cements the contributions of a diverse selection of women into the art historical canon. (In conjunction with the publication, Artspace produced a limited-edition portfolio with the support of Kering, available exclusively on Artspace.) Here, Amer tells us we need to have more women collectors and directors of big art museums, the pivotal artwork so important to her career and why Great Women Artists is a 'beginning' and that normalization will come soon.

What does it mean to you to be featured in Great Women Artists? 

Making a book about women artists acknowledges the fact that women artists have been erased from art history. This has always been my battleground, so I am happy. I appreciate this acknowledgement but in the same time it bothers me still that women are not just included as artists without any gender specification. I guess it is a beginning and I hope normalization will come soon.

 

Yellow Strokes, 2015 Ceramic Ghada Amer - courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read
Yellow Strokes, 2015 Ceramic Ghada Amer - courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read

Can you describe one artwork or series from your oeuvre that you feel was pivotal in your career? 

There are many artworks that have been pivotal. 100 words of Love is one of them because it made me fall in love with sculpture and because I did not need to use embroidery to express myself.

How has being a woman affected your career? 

It makes me sell for much less money than if I were a male (and white) and it closes all doors for solo museum shows.

The Cowboy is available for $1,500

What makes a great artist? 

Certainly not his gender.

Which other great woman artists inspire you and why? 

Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum is my absolute female artist inspiration. 

Standing Girl in Yellow, 2015 Ceramic - Ghada Amer - courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read
Standing Girl in Yellow, 2015 Ceramic - Ghada Amer - courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read

 

How has the art world’s relationship to women artists changed since you began your career? How could it still improve? 

It has improved a little bit. We need to have more women collectors and directors of important art museums as well as more women patrons. We need to rewrite all the art history books to show that they have always needed great women artists. Women artists need to be celebrated on the same level as Rodin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse and others.

 

Superman and the Birds is available for $1,000

What advice would you give to emerging female artists entering the art world? 

Do not say you are a woman. Pretend you are a man, act like one.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Cecilia Vicuña On Invisible Art, Solidarity, And "Not Belonging"

A Q&A With Candida Höfer: A Great Woman Artist

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS