Humans of ABMB 2014: a project by intern Dara Katzenstein

Girls’ Club presents Humans of ABMB, an independent blog series from our Fall 2014 intern Dara Katzenstein. Humans of ABMB is a photographic investigation into gender perception at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Throughout December 2-7, Dara will be making her way through various art venues, fairs, performances, talks, museums, parties, restaurants, and gatherings at Art Basel Miami Beach:

"As I venture through Miami, camera in hand, I am interviewing humans about their experiences and opinions of the fair with a focus on gender perception. For each interview, I am initiating a conversation about the relevance of gender bias, feminism, and female presence in the art world. The conversation continues here (and on instagram #humansofabmb), where I am posting daily photographs and text from my interactions with the Humans of ABMB."

Dara Katzenstein is a South Florida native and a recent graduate from Washington University in St. Louis, where she received a B.F.A. in Sculpture and Art History. She is a sculptor and multimedia based artist with a conceptual focus on remembrance and ritual. Dara is also interested in art education and is moving to Ghana in 2015 with the Peace Corps as an Arts Educator for the hearing impaired.

Featured image: Installation view of Chantal Joffe, Kristen, on view at Girls' Club as part of current exhibit The Moment. The Backdrop. The Persona. Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York.

Sunday, December 7th


"Auto Body" at Giant Motors

"When viewing artwork do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"I normally don't. I was attracted to this gallery because it is all female. But, I normally don't. I was curious to see if it was topical or what the difference would be with a conversation of gender."

"Do you think gender affects your perception of an artwork?"

"I do think gender is a conversation that is often ignored. Because it comes with a lot of non-sequiturs and a lot of expectations, negative or otherwise. So, yes."


Wynwood Walls

"When viewing art do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"No, I haven't really noticed that."

In the murals here, do you think that you are affected differently when you see a male or female that is represented?"

"Yea, depends. The gender speaks a lot to me, but I don't know how to explain it."


The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse

"When viewing artwork do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"I don't, for the most part."

"Do you think an artist's gender can affect your perception of an artwork?"

"No, I don't think so."

Saturday, December 6th


Girls' Club Collection

"When viewing artwork do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"I don't actually. It's not really something that is relevant to me particularly. It's more about how I am drawn to the art I'm seeing as opposed to who is making it."

"Does artwork that has feminine or gender based themes interest you?"

"Yea. I think it is very interesting because it is something that is relevant in our society. To see gender portrayed in an art form makes it more intriguing and makes you view it in a different way."

photo by Dara Katzenstein

Girls' Club Collection

"When you view artwork do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"No."

"Yes. But, that's probably because I went to a women's college and I think I notice when women aren't there. So, I am looking for when they are there."

Do you think gender affects your perception of an artwork?"

"I have to assume that it does, right? But, I don't think I'm aware of it when it happens other than the fact that I am looking at it. If that makes any sense."

"No, for me it doesn't make sense or make a difference who it's from unless it is overt."

photo by Dara Katzenstein

Locust Projects

"When viewing art do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"I do. I am interested in reading about what inspired them to create what they create. Gender-wise we see things very differently, so I think it plays a big part into the inspiration of the artist."


Rubell Family Collection

"Do you pay attention to gender when viewing artwork?"

"Yes, I do. It's definitely a big thing. It makes a piece completely different if its a female nude or a male nude or just a male or female in general. That is kind of why I like Keith Haring because there isn't that much gender. It's very generic."

Friday, December 5th


NADA Art Fair
"When viewing artwork do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"Sometimes. It depends on the work, if the work is provocative in a certain way I go in and look to see who it is and sometimes the sex of an artist is surprising. Then that's when I would pay attention. There was some photography at the Convention Center where the photos were so brilliant and I wanted to see if it was a man or woman who shot them. Although, they were like mugshots they were done by a woman and I thought that was nice."

"I sort of do the same. In that I see all the artwork in an agnostic way. But, if I see heavy female themes, if it's a female body or a female theme, my eyes zero in to see if the artist is a female or a male."

"During Art Basel, have you noticed a difference between the number of men and women represented?"

"I haven't even been paying attention to that."

"I think there are definitely more male artists represented than women. But, I think some of the most exciting work that I've seen has been by women."


NADA Art Fair

"Do you pay attention to the gender of an artist when viewing art?"

"No, I don't. I just take a picture of the tag if I liked it."


"Big Eyes" Screening at the Colony Theater

"Do you pay attention to the gender of an artist when viewing art?"

"Yes."

"Does the gender affect your perception of the artwork?"

"I think no. It doesn't change my perception, but if the artwork is about gender I am interested to know the artist's gender. It's interesting to know if a female is making feminine work or if a male is making masculine work."

Thursday, December 4th


Art Basel at the Miami Beach Convention Center

"When viewing art work do you pay attention to the gender of an artist?"

"No. I just look at the picture. Maybe after that if I really liked it I look at who made it, but not the first time. So, not initially."


Art Basel at the Miami Beach Convention Center

"When viewing artwork do you pay attention to the gender of an artist?"

"No, it's about the work first."

"At Art Basel, have you noticed any artwork with themes about femininity or gender?"

"As far as themes within the fair now, I don't think I've seen galleries organizing around those themes. What I have seen is galleries presenting their strongest work."


Art Basel at the Miami Beach Convention Center

When viewing artwork do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?

"No."

"I don't either."

"At Art Basel, do you think there is any difference between the genders that are represented?"

"I think that there are probably more male artists."

"Well, maybe there are more male artists. But, in figurative painting you always see more female bodies and faces."


Untitled Art Fair

"When viewing artwork do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"Yea, I think so. Today, I found myself multiple times referring to the artist as a he or a she without even being told. I wasn't always right. So, I realized I don't even know why I decided they were a woman."

"When you find out the true gender of the artist, do you think that affects your opinion of the artwork?"

"I wouldn't say it affects my opinion of the artwork. I would say that sometimes if I think an art piece is particularly masculine or feminine and I found out the artist was the opposite I would have a new view of the artist. I wouldn't say it would necessarily change the piece."


Aqua Art Fair

"When viewing art do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"I do. The Guerrilla Girls just gave a lecture in Baltimore and one of the things that I've been thinking about ever since then is how many women I'm seeing versus how many men I'm seeing on the walls of museums and galleries."

Wednesday, December 3rd


"International Friendship Exhibition" at Primary Projects

"When viewing an artwork, do you pay attention to the artist's gender?"

"I certainly notice feminine themes because that's something I respond to in artwork. But, I try to look at the work first and the tag later."

"During Art Basel have you seen many artworks with feminine themes?"

"I think there's a lot of male gaze themes. In terms of how males see females in artwork, especially in a lot of the new murals happening around Wynwood. As far as female themes from women there are a lot of performance art shows and it seems like there is more than last year."


"International Friendship Exhibition" at Primary Projects

"When looking at art do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"I'm not sure that I notice the gender of the artist. Often I don't think gender is noticeable in art."


"Public" at Collins Park

"When looking at art do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"I don't think that I immediately go in paying attention to the gender of the artist, but it's kind of like looking at the materials–it affects the way I read the work once I look at the title card."

"During Art Basel, have you noticed any discrepancy between the genders that are represented?"

"I think there used to be a huge discrepancy. I haven't been to Basel before, but I have looked at a lot of work. There was a huge movement of women doing fiber work and men never did fiber work. But, that is a good example of something in the Convention Center, where there is a lot of men doing fiber work and women doing metal work–which was always done by men. Those lines have melted a little bit, it was a pleasant surprise."

Tuesday, December 2nd


Context Art Fair

"When looking at art do you pay attention to the gender of the artist?"

"No, I don't even notice."

"Maybe I'm biased, but when I see an Asian artist that is a woman I'm surprised. Because Asian women are not encouraged to be artists."


Context Art Fair

"Do you pay attention to the gender of an artist?"

"Yea."

"Definitely."

"How does that affect your opinion of an artwork?"

"It definitely does, but it's not that important. It's just curiosity."

"I feel like you relate to it in different types of ways. Like, if you're a girl and you see a girl artist–you're going to be like 'Oh, I see what she means'."

"Do you think there is a discrepancy between number of women and men represented?"

"I haven't noticed a difference at all."

"Yea, but that is like men $1 and women are 77 cents–that's everywhere."


Art Miami Fair

"Does gender affect your perception of an artwork?"

"For me, I tend to appreciate art more when females make it. It's probably because I come from a household where there is a lot of strong women. My mother, my grandmother, my sisters, aunts–I have nine aunts and one uncle."

"Never, no."

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