I’m not into coke nor mansplaining, which might be considered a disadvantage when you work in the arts. When going to exhibition openings, smalltalk-ing your way through dinners and constantly constructing your network, in short, when being in the art world is your job. Most of the time I enjoy doing that. I consider myself fairly sociable. I can be charming if I want to. But sometimes I just really don’t. Especially because that world, despite being full of amazing, powerful, intelligent people, is still ruled by men whose behavior I find hard to bear.
A gallery owner silently hands me his coat, no hello, no thank you, no good bye. Where are your manners, tiny rich man? Some guy who runs a project space rambles on about his extremely busy travel itinerary, threads of saliva are dancing in the corners of his mouth. Go easy on the coke, dude. A white haired collector drifts off into a monologue about a random topic that is of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever. I see his lips move and focus on the curry ketchup stain on his suit. An artist comments on photos with visible pit hair on my Instagram with a puke-face emoji and calls my curatorial project Marie’s Frauenspaßgruppe (Marie’s lady fun group). What the fuck. I fantasize about posting a close-up of that artist’s nose on Instagram in return, about scratching the glossy surface of his polished art works with a key. But I never do any of these things.
So what do you do when being a lady in the art world takes you out of your comfort zone sometimes? How do you deal with cringeworthy, blatant chauvinism at work?
She’s a great painter, one of the most critical and independent women I know and she finds most men ridiculous. So maybe I should take her advice. But sometimes I wonder whether my polite smiles aren’t actually part of the problem.
Julie Gaspard and I initiated EVBG (exciting ventures by Beckmann and Gaspard) in 2015 because we were intrigued by the idea of working together as women and collaborating as friends. By then we’d already had numerous coffee dates, discussed boredom and breakups and bonded over our shared interest in FOMO, trending hashtags, instagrammable food and fierce feminist art practices. EVBG has grown into a nomadic curatorial project dedicated to presenting film and video art by international, mostly female artists.
At the same time it’s an excuse for us to hang out with each other more, to connect with people we find fascinating, and to organize events that bring these people together. Since we make our living working in other jobs, we can afford to disregard the aspects of the art world that we dislike. There’s no ego-stroking, no catering to other people’s interests, no dealing with the slimy middle-aged men that sometimes seem so prominent in this world. We are women, having fun together. A Frauenspaßgruppe. Just that fun, in our case, implies collaborating with and supporting other creative ladies we respect and admire.
EVBG will be hosting the HORSEGIRL publication launch on Sunday, 30th of April, from 4 pm onwards at Uqbar, Schwedenstrasse 16, 13357 Berlin. Be there early for fancy Sunday snacks and hungover Gallery Weekend snacks. To check out further upcoming events, click here, or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.