Women in the art world are used to being shut out of the boys' club. According to the Gallery Tally project, male artists represent around 70 percent of the gallery world, even though 51 percent of visual artists are women. Simply put, women just aren't afforded the same opportunities to have their work exposed as male artists. The dearth of gallery representation and statistically lower earnings contribute to a continued lack of visibility for female artists.




Mary Weatherford's Gin Ling Way via Website


Perhaps that's why the Rubell Family Collection in Miami is presenting a show made up entirely of female artists. No Man's Land features works by more than 100 female artists from 28 countries, all of which the Rubells have been collecting over the last 50 years. No Man's Land began with a few studio visits with women artists the Rubells found particularly interesting. As described in the title description: "We started to imagine visual conversations between these artists and the women artists already in the collection." No Man's Land will be displayed during Art Basel Miami Beach, where it will remain on view through May 28, meaning the artists will get prime exposure to the global art community.

No Man's Land is dynamic by necessity: The Rubell Collection's two-story Wynwood building isn’t large enough to display the hundreds of works included, so the show is constantly changing. Artists' works are rotated out to dialogue with whatever the show chooses to focus on that month, and orbiting works in and out allows the viewer to experience the depth of the collection and the richness of the works. Established artists like Cindy Sherman and Marilyn Minter are displayed alongside relative newcomers and artists who are showing their work in the U.S. for the first time, such as Cara Despain and Solange Pessoa.


Solange Pessoa's Catedral via Website


Pessoa's work, Catedral, is the striking first image a viewer sees in No Man's Land, a colony of hair the artist has been collecting over the last 25 years. Long, rectangular carpets of hair are strewn across the walls and floor of the space. The Brazilian artist gathered the hair in the 1990s and early 2000s from various salons in her native Belo Horizonte. 

Similarly, the next gallery features a cascade of silken chiffon mounted on the walls and across the floor, a work that the Rubells haven’t shown in more than 25 years. Beverly Semmes' Blue Gowns reinforces Pessoa's sculptural work, also drawing on the external elements that society uses to identify and define women: hair, dress and shape.


Beverly Semmes' Blue Gowns via Website


These feminist motifs are present throughout the show, with some artists homing in on gender commentary more than others. Cecily Brown, for example, uses a frenetic drawing of the supine female form to show that females aren’t in fact passive, but rather "nervy and full of menace." Similarly, Marlene Dumas' Miss January paints a portrait of a woman the artists considers the iconic sensual female figure, humanized with pubic hair and a disheveled appearance.

While No Man's Land is certainly an homage to female artists around the world, it's also a meditation on how much still needs to be done to give women the recognition they deserve. A show of this magnitude, at one of Miami's most prominent private collections, does its part.
 

Rubell Family Collection, 95 NW 29th St., Miami. 305-573-6090; rfc.museum

By Nicole Martinez

Nicole is a freelance writer and crop top enthusiast based in Miami Beach. When she's not combing the city for vintage jewelry or the best local restaurants, you can find her planning world domination with her sidekick/housecat, Violet.