“A ‘King Woman’ is a woman who does it all, she can do whatever she wants. There is no limit.” This was the inspiration behind the all-women art exhibition currently showing at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen gallery space in NYC. Celebrating the work of female artists, the event has been curated by Karan in conjunction with former singer/songwriter Mashonda Tifrere, and is one of an increasing number of shows supporting both emerging and more established talent who remain underrepresented in today’s male dominated art world.
Karan, whose late husband Stephan Weiss was an artist and sculptor, first met Tifrere two years ago. Tifrere had been collecting art as soon she started making money from her music career, and quickly became aware that very few, if any of the pieces on display at the galleries she visited were by women. This was the catalyst for ArtLeadHer, a platform to celebrate and bring attention to female artists, which Tifrere launched on Women’s Day in 2016. The non-profit has since not only created wall space and opportunities for female artists, but via a newly formed Foundation, enables girls from grades 8 to 12 to experience artist talks and in-residence opportunities; visit studios and galleries; and enjoy access to professional mentors.
After hosting their first International Women’s Day at Urban Zen in 2018, Karan and Tifrere conceived King Woman, which explores themes of personal identity and femininity. "Each artwork selected for King Woman emotively positions women subjects as the pinnacle of power and strength, while evoking a deeply human connection with the viewer, " Tifrere told Creative Boom’s Katy Bowan, and the exhibition features a range of genres from portraiture and textiles to abstract gestural painting and photography.
The women whose works are on show are contemporary street artist Swoon; figurative textile artist Bisa Butler; Brooklyn-raised, “neo-female” painter Genesis Tramaine; Tawny Chatmon; Yulia Bas; Reisha Perlmutter; Lacey McKinney; Erin Armstrong; Lucinda Grange; Annette Hur; Delphine Diallo; Sandra Chevrier; Dagmar van Weeghel; Christine Wagner; and Elizabeth Waggett.
“She’s connecting the dots between women, art and our community. She brings together the most beautiful artists, highlights their talent and soul,” said Karan of her co-curator. "She’s raising awareness and inspiring change, and that truly expresses what Urban Zen is about – Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Community and Positive Change."
‘King Woman’ is showing at Urban Zen, 705 Greenwich St, until 7th April.