Women Artists Take Forefront at Biennale Arte 2022

The State of Fem Art
5 min read
Women artists

2005 became a groundbreaking year for the 51st edition of the Biennale when Maria de Corral and Rosa Martinez would become the first two women to curate the exhibition for the first time in its history.

This year, the exhibition, which features 213 artists, spotlights more than 180 women. Many of the featured artists are also indigenous, people of color, or non-binary artists. A choice which this year's curator Cecilia Alemani says is "a deliberate rethinking of man's centrality in the history of art and contemporary culture."

While women have been primary drivers in many facets of contemporary art culture, many of their stories have not been shared broadly by being given the space to exhibit at world-renown exhibitions like Biennale.  

Cecilia Alemani, Photo by Andrea Avezzù | Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

During a recent interview with ArtNews, Alemani said that she "made a point of focusing on women artists because [she] wanted to try to bring to the surface those stories that have been considered by many to be minor. Surrealism, Futurism, all those movements—they all had female artists."

In the exhibition opening to the public on April 23, there are heavy themes of surrealism and many new artists being featured alongside historic artists---quite different from the previous Biennale's. We can appreciate the space Alemani is also making for indigenous women in the arts.

"It is an important element of the show, not just because they are Indigenous, but because they bring to the forefront a different way of storytelling that is not the traditional one," she shared with Alex Greenberger for ArtNews.

The La Biennale di Venezia was set back a year due to the global pandemic, giving Alemani space and time to carefully curate this year's exhibition. In some ways, the pandemic and its impact on many of the participating artists truly influenced its direction.

The international exhibition "Milk of Dreams," titled after the book by Leonora Carrington (1917–2011), will take place in the Central Pavilion (Giardini) and in the Arsenale in Venice, Italy.

"The Milk of Dreams was conceived and organized in a period of enormous instability and uncertainty, since its development coincided with the outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. La Biennale di Venezia was forced to postpone this edition by one year, an event that had only occurred during the two World Wars since 1895. So the very fact that this exhibition can open is somewhat extraordinary: its inauguration is not exactly the symbol of a return to normal life, but rather the outcome of a collective effort that seems almost miraculous," said Alemani.

The exhibit includes 213 artists from 58 countries; 180 of these are participating for the first time in the International Exhibition. There will be 1,433 works and objects on display, and 80 new projects were conceived specifically for the Biennale Arte. More importantly, let's celebrate the fact that women artists are shining bright, loudly, and boldly at this year's exhibition.

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