Artists and collectors from around the world are coming to the Dallas Art Fair this weekend. And that’s inspired a group of women to start their own art fair. It’s called Vignette and it features the work of Texas women artists. For this week’s State of the Arts conversation, I sat down Jessica Ingle, president of Vignette, and Erin Murphy, of the San Antonio Museum of Art, who curated one section of the show.
The fair runs through the weekend. Murphy curated the 2D and 3D work in the show. But there are also tracks highlighting social practice art, curated by Fort Worth’s Dee Lara, and new media, curated by Dallas inter-media artist Jessie Moncrief.
Jessica, why do we need an art fair for female artists?
Jessica Ingle: Well, women in particular are so underrepresented in the art world. According to Gallery Tally, only 30 percent of the artists in commercial galleries are women. Only 25 percent of the major museums in the US that have budgets over $15 million are run by women. So not only are the higher-ups in museums oftentimes men, but the people in fairs, in galleries, are predominantly men.
We were hoping this would really diversify the field a little better.
Erin, you curated the traditional 2d and 3D work in the show. How did you select the work?
Erin Murphy: So, one of the things that I tried to do was to include art works and artists who were dealing with very universal issues. Issues like biographical concerns, addressing the figure, addressing materials – traditional or non-traditional, political issues – like we touched on, spatial concerns, and also technological issues that we come up against every day. And by the time I’d gotten through the second round of selections, I was like, wait a second, this is all really, really diverse and exciting work.So it ended up that’s really what I wanted to push with this exhibition.
Vignette is happening at the same time as Dallas Art Fair, which is showing work from hundreds of artists from around the world. Tell me about the timing.
JI: So Vignette is meant to be an alternative fair. One of the things we love about it, is that it does not have any booths or galleries. It’s all submission based. We wanted this to be a satellite fair
Dallas Art Fair is doing something so amazing for this city. They’re bringing international recognition in a way that almost no other event has. Which is a great thing, Being a satellite fair, like any satellite is, they ride the coattails a little bit, in that regard.
So are you hoping people coming to the Art Fair will also visit Vignette?
JI: Yes, absolutely, we’re hoping to bridge that gap between local artists and curators, critics, collectors, both locally and nationally and internationally.
The show’s in the building that once housed the Women’s Museum. And wandering through the show, I found it really poignant to be surrounded by all these rainbow-colored display cases and they still have their titles on them like, “Rebel With a Cause” or “Never Silent.” And those cases are empty. Does that resonate with you at all?
EM: I mean I can’t think of a more appropriate location for something like this. I do think there’s something really integral to one’s experience of the fair, because there are some very obvious signs of abandoned spaces. And we make use of most of those spaces. But I think, you know, that could even be viewed as a kind of metaphor of the state of what it is to be a female, or someone identifying as female, these days.
And in particular in this case, a female -identifying artist. With the current climate, political and otherwise, I think it’s a poignant pairing to have this in a location like that.