The Stand is a visionary platform where art and philanthropy combine to provoke change; where capital can not only help foster creativity, but can fund causes and raise awareness of contemporary issues.
The Stands inaugural auction is purpose driven; The Female Gaze celebrates artists who have, and continue to identify as female and specifically artists that explore the female form, a subject traditionally colonised by men.
It’s been 45 years since Laura Mulvey introduced the concept of the “male gaze” and called out the gender imbalance in popular cinema, it’s positioning of men as active and women as passive and in her words, “woman as image and man as bearer of the look”.
Thankfully much has happened since then, but sadly much remains the same. In our current Instagram age we spend dizzying amounts of time looking, viewing and presenting ‘ourselves’ and so perhaps it is not surprising that it is these very same social media channels where campaigns such as #MeToo and Cancel Culture were born and where the female gaze has grown into a hashtag movement. Loosely defined as a perspective – be it queer, Black, trans, straight, women-focused — the age-old white heterosexual male outlook is being challenged.
In recent years the market for work by women has been experiencing an upward trend, more than doubling in the decade since 2008. This represents a rate of growth faster than the art market as a whole, which increased by 72% over the same period. It comes as no surprise when we understand the context; in recent history traditional auction houses have remained confused as to how staggeringly marginalised women’s contribution to art is in terms of value and also representation; between 2008 and 2019 women made just 2% of the worldwide auction market.
Beyond the auction world female artists remain under-represented; in 2019 the representation of living female artists in commercial galleries in London was up 4% over two years, but was still only 32%. Whilst the non-commercial sector is making bigger strides towards equality. The number of female artists representing Great Britain at the Venice Biennale over the past 20 years is up from 36% to 50% over the past 10 years. The Turner Prize, too, has most frequently been awarded to women, making 66% of winners over the last decade female identifying. And in terms of institutional exhibitions, the percentage of solo shows dedicated to women in non-commercial galleries and museums has risen from 39% in 2017 to 55% in 2019.
However it is important to note that according to Dr. Clare McAndrew during 2020 the share of female artists in the primary market decreased to below 40%, presumably due to the pandemic and the fact that the COVID-19 crisis exasperated gender inequality across industries.
The opportunity for change continues to remain huge and in the marketplace the potential growth for work by women identifying artists is significant. We stand for change…