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fair share! Visibility for women artists. An action at the Neue Nationalgalerie for International Women’s Day | 08.03.2022

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The Berlin action alliance fair share! invites you to a symbolic action at the Neue Nationalgalerie on International Women’s Day 2022. 110 female artists and cultural workers will walk around the museum at 2 pm in a performance and (re-)present female artists of the classical modern era. On the day of the performance, each participant will become an expert on “her” artist. After the performance, visitors can ask the participants about the life and work of the artist.

Image above: Final rehearsal of fair share! in front of the Neue Nationalgalerie in February 2022, Photo: Petra Weller

The action / performance

A woman in every window: 110 female artists and cultural workers will walk around the Neue Nationalgalerie in a 40-minute performance. On their T-shirts they will wear the name of a woman artist of classical modernism who could be represented in the show collection of the house if her works had been collected.
On the day of the performance, each participant becomes an expert on “her” artist. After the performance, visitors can contact the participants and ask them about their lives and works. This creates a pool of information that makes many undiscovered, long-forgotten and strongly underrepresented women artists visible.

In the famous building by Mies van der Rohe, the modernist collection of the National Museums in Berlin is presented in the basement. Currently, 16.7 % women artists are represented there, including Hannah Höch, Natalja Goncharova, Lotte Laserstein, Lou Loeber, Marg Moll and a further 17 artists of Expressionism, Surrealism, Constructivism and Dadaism. In the run-up to the opening, the action alliance fair share! called for a greater presence of women artists in the permanent collection in a spontaneous nocturnal art action and pinned 800 names of women artists to the building fence.
There are currently 22 women artists on show compared to 110 artists, and of the 250 works on display, 14% were created by women artists.

The action is supported by representatives of the most important Berlin artists’ associations and initiatives such as Pro Quote Kunst (in formation), bbk berlin, Frauenmuseum Berlin, kunst+kind berlin, Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen 1867, INSELGALERIE Berlin, GEDOK Berlin, Kunst & Kind München as well as by the Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler (BBK) and SALOON Berlin.
The action takes place exclusively outdoors and respects all Corona-related hygiene measures as well as the protection of historical monuments. All fair share! products are largely climate-friendly and sustainably produced. The action is supported by unpaid commitment and donations.

Donation account:
Frauenmuseum Berlin e.V.
IBAN: DE 26830 65408 00040 227 50
Kennwort: fair share! 2022

ART at Berlin - Courtesy of fair share for women artists - image002
courtesy of fair share for women artists

fair share! Visibility for women artists

Even though the problem of a lack of gender equality is now perceived in many places in the art business, sustainable change is still a long time coming. Studies such as those by the German Cultural Council (2016/2020) and the Institute for Strategy Development (2018), as well as statistics by the bbk berlin with the support of the Künstlersozialkasse (Artists’ Social Security Fund) show a gender gap of almost 33%, with an upward trend during the pandemic. Decision-makers in the cultural sector need to find mechanisms to accelerate a change in the status quo.

Today, almost 60 % of art school graduates are female. However, solo exhibitions by contemporary women artists in the programmes of almost all major institutions in Berlin do not even account for one third. The presence of contemporary women artists in federal collections is comparable.

DEEDS NEWS - fairshare vor der Neuen Nationalgalerie - Foto Petra Weller
fairshare in front of the Neue Nationalgalerie, action in 2021, Photo: Petra Weller

In European and North American museum collections, the proportion of works by women from all periods is currently around 5%, as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, has investigated.1 However, the fact that women have always been active as artists and have created an independent oeuvre is demonstrated by international initiatives such as the non-profit organisation Archives of Women Artists, Reserach and Exhibitions (AWARE), as well as highly acclaimed retrospectives, especially in the metropolises of London, New York, Paris and Amsterdam. New presentations of collections, which have broken down classical hierarchies and divisional thinking, the Euro-centred traditional canon and male dominance in favour of parity and diversity, have received a positive response worldwide.

In Berlin and Germany, the comprehensive “revision of a visual defect” – the title of an exhibition in the Märkisches Museum Witten – is still pending. A rethink and action is highly urgent here, for example, when the 300th birthday of the painter Anna Dorothea Therbusch, who was extremely successful in her time, is commemorated in 2021 in a “focused anniversary show” at the Berlin Gemäldegalerie with only 12 works from the museum’s own holdings – although a catalogue of over 250 works is available and many of the paintings are stored in German museums. In the contemporary field, too, there should be no more exhibitions like NOTHINGTOSEENESS at the Akademie der Künste Berlin at the end of last year, with only 16 female artists compared to 59 male artists.

fair share! and all allies are looking forward with anticipation to the work of the Berlinische Galerie with the newly arrived archive of the Hidden Museum there, to the new curator at the Akademie der Künste and to the announced exhibitions of women artists at the Neue Nationalgalerie. The construction and furnishing of the neighbouring Museum of the 20th Century will also be critically followed.

This is still demanded:

  • a recognition of the achievements of women artists from all centuries until today
  • the gender-responsive design of acquisitions and exhibitions
  • an increase in the presence of female authors in collections and exhibitions – to
    exhibitions – in the contemporary field to 50 %
  • promoting research projects and publications on women artists
  • the reappraisal and rewriting of art historical publications and textbooks of the past
    of the past
  • the establishment and updating of a nationwide database on women artists in the
    the portfolio of the Minister of State for Culture and Media
  • the introduction of significantly more targeted funding and prizes for women artists of all ages
  • the abolition of age restrictions in calls for proposals
  • funding programmes for artists with child-rearing and care responsibilities, and the
    the development of funding programmes to specifically support the re-entry into the art world after family-related leave

1 Susanne Radelhof, Regisseurin der Arte-Sendung „Lost Women Art, 2021”, Interview SWR 2, 09.06.2021


Monday, 8th March 2022, from 2:00 pm (at the International Women’s Day)


Neue Nationalgalerie, Kulturforum
Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin-Tiergarten


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