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Social Work: A New Section Dedicated to Women Who Challenged the Market

‘A response to the hard fact that women are still under-represented in every part of the art world’, says Jo Stella-Sawicka

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‘A response to the hard fact that women are still under-represented in every part of the art world’, says Jo Stella-Sawicka

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Photo: Tom Jamieson

Photo: Tom Jamieson

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Social Work is an invitational section of Frieze London and follows on from 2017’s critically acclaimed Sex Work: Radical Politics and Feminist Art curated by Alison M. Gingeras. This year the section will feature eight monographic presentations by women artists whose work emerged in response to the global social and political schisms of the 1980s and ’90s. Social Work pays homage to a selection of artists who challenged the status quo and explored the possibilities of political activism in their art making.  Including both established and lesser-known feminist artists the section will also highlight the role that galleries have played in their support of women artists whose work may not have been easily assimilated into the mainstream.

Social Work was devised by a panel of eminent art historians, curators and critics that have recommended a short list of artists to participate in the section. The panelists include: Iwona Blazwick (Director, Whitechapel Art Gallery), Katrina Brown (Director, The Common Guild), Louisa Buck (Art Critic and Correspondent, The Art Newspaper), Amira Gad (Curator, Art & Architecture, Serpentine Galleries), Jennifer Higgie (Editorial Director, frieze), Melanie Keen (Director, Iniva), Polly Staple (Director, Chisenhale Gallery), Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial), Fatos Üstek (Director, DRAF) and Lydia Yee (Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery) will select a group of artists who challenged the status quo, embracing an activist approach in their art making and confronting social and cultural norms.

The section will include both well-known and overlooked female artists, who address questions of identity, labour and visibility in their work. The participating artists and galleries will be announced in the coming months.

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