For One of the Biggest Shifts in the New York Art Scene, You Can Thank Guerrillas.

Mar 9, 2017

Not the animal, but an anonymous group of radical feminist female artists known as the Guerrilla Girls.

In 1989, the Modern Art Department of the MET’s public collections had less than 5% of works produced by women. And yet 85% of the nudes were of females.

Gender and racial inequality is an issue that the Guerilla Girls have been focusing on for a long time. Formed in New York in 1985, they have employed highly disruptive tactics in their push to see greater representation of all races and identities. Despite a lot of ruffled feathers in the art world, New York has arguably benefitted from this activism. And there are countless others whose proactive work has fostered an inclusive environment in the New York art scene. The city now sees art from a broader range of ethnicities and cultures including Asian and African. That being said, more progress is still needed; female artists still make up less than half of major museum exhibits.

Another important shift in New York’s cultural scene is an increased interest in art. Today there are more art fairs than ever and attendance at museums and galleries is at an all-time high.

Suzanne Julig is a member of the senior management team at Sotheby’s Institute of Art as Director of Summer Study Program in New York. She sees this shift not only happening in that city but also globally.

By far the largest shift in the cultural fabric of the art world is due to the Internet and social media. Whichever city you’re in, they’ve changed the way art collectors and artists share and appreciate work. Across boarders and cultures, artist and collectors are connecting like never before.

But there is a downside. Isaac Aden, artist and senior curator at KuBe Beacon, explains that while viewing work online can be wonderful, it is never the same as seeing the work in person. This is so true. Since so much art is physical, seeing it in person not only allows the viewer to experience it in greater detail, it also allows for a greater connection to the artists who have poured their souls into it. Which is exactly what the Guerilla Girls have been doing in New York since the 1980s. Pouring their souls and energy into a cause that has arguably shifted the cultural landscape of New York and, to a degree, the world. And this shift was started long before the Internet as we know it even existed.

Join Art Advisor, Suzanne Julig, Gallery Owner, Ethan Cohen and Artist/Curator, Isaac Aden for a lively discussion of the changing face of New York’s cultural scene. Watch Now!


Matt Beasant

Matt Beasant is a self-taught Canadian artist and experienced writer, born and raised in Northwestern Ontario. Represented by established Canadian Galleries, Matt has exhibited at the Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in 2016. His work is characterized by crisp lines and bold gradients which are applied by hand using many thin layers of paint –...

read more