“It all started with this discovery of a textbook,” said Phaidon chief executive officer Keith Fox on Wednesday night. “That I will not name, because I will not shame it, which was recently the most popular and used textbook in art history and studies of the Western world of art. And we were looking at it, and there are 318 artists in the book, and only 27 of them are women. So, 8 percent.”
That was then, and this is now: Phaidon joined forces with Kering to publish a book highlighting female artists throughout history. The book, “Great (Women) Artists,” represents 425 artists and 500 years of art, starting in 1490 with the birth of the oldest artist through 1990, the youngest artist featured.
Several of the artists featured in the book, including Sarah Sze, Dana Schutz and Sharon Hayes, helped toast the publication with an intimate dinner at La Mercerie. Guests were seated at one long dinner table festooned with fall florals and candles, a cozy environment on an otherwise rainy evening.
“The real story is Keith and I, we live in the same building, we work in the same building,” said Kering Americas president Laurent Claquin. “So I met him in the elevator and I said ‘listen, I want to support this initiative — not because they’re women, but because they’re great artists.'”
Most recently, Claquin was wowed by an exhibition of Sze’s work at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in Chelsea (on view through Oct. 19).
“Which was mind-blowing, and so inspiring,” he added. “I’m really impressed and in love with what she does.”
The evening concluded with a performance by Nicole Bus, who will release her debut album with Roc Nation on Friday.
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