ART CURATOR ANTONIA MARSH WAS ABLE IN A FEW YEARS TO BRING US, ALONG WITH HER ARTISTS, IN THE CONTEMPORARY FEMINISM.
A TALENTS SCOUT WHO COMBINED THE ART CONCEPT IN AN ORIGINAL JUVENILE VIEW.
Tell us something about your artistic background and how was born the desire to create something on your own?
I have a pretty traditional background. I studied art history for my bachelor’s degree and then curating contemporary art for my master’s, and I worked in museums and commercial galleries until I grew tired of and frustrated by the lack of creativity and opportunities for young artists in the art world. I wanted to find my voice as a curator, and that’s when I decided to work on my own projects.
How do you explain your art to someone who doesn’t know you?
I always begin by explaining that I am a curator, I put together art exhibitions, largely with the work of female artists or of photography. Many of the exhibitions I curate are concerned with initiating or recreating intimate environments within which a viewer can feel comfortable – the bedroom, for example. I am not interested in replicating a white cube gallery model of exhibition making, those to me are totally sterile spaces.
Where does your inspiration for your portal “Girls Only NYC” comes from?
Three years ago, when I started the project, and still now, there do not exist enough opportunities for female artists. They remain underrepresented in both museum and smaller gallery shows, and Girls Only was created to combat this.
What is your vision behind this project?
The vision is very simple – to create a safe and open space for female artists to excel within their work. This can range from an exhibition, a residency, a discussion group, a screening, a dinner, an adventure… We cover everything and are open to anything, anywhere.
The process that leds you to the selection of your crew of artists:
This process was completely organic. I met some of the girls through the internet, some through friends, some I knew already. Much like the natural progression and developments of friendships through life in general – there is nothing formal about it at all, which I think sets us aside from a lot of art world bureaucracy and political nepotism.
Which are for you the artists who were able to express the feminist freedom in art?
Tracey Emin has always been an important artist for me. The freedom with which she handles her autobiographical subject matter is enviable and inspiring.
A song, and item and a book that could represent you?
I first listened to Shitlist by L7 when one of the Girls Only artists played it to me in the studio and we danced our problems out like crazy. My tiger-print fake fur coat is my favourite item at the moment because it’s keeping me warm but also in a good mood, and my friends can see me from a mile away. I can’t think of a book so easily – I’m reading Patti Smith’s M Train at the moment, but I think the book I use the most is a thesaurus, when I write. Maybe that represents me best because I’m always looking for alternative meanings in things, dissatisfied with simplicity – which isn’t necessarily a good thing but it’s definitely very me.
Do you think that sexuality plays a fundamental role in art?
Absolutely. I think our identity is inextricable from a lot of art, and sexuality is inherent to identity.
What are your favorite women artists?
Erin Riley’s woven tapestries, Alexandra Marzella’s video work, Rebecca Storm and Miyako Bellizzi’s photos are all enthralling me at the moment, and Arvida Byström’s multifaceted practice has equally been making waves for some time now.
Did you have any icons that have influenced your career?
The Riot Grrrl movement massively shook me and my career when I first came into contact with their work, as did the dynamism of the Guerrilla Girls.
What’s today feminism in art?
Feminism as a movement is so nuanced, with such a rich and nuanced history, that it would be extremely difficult to make a comment on where it stands and what it looks like today in just a few sentences. Equally, it is not my responsibility or my position to do so. It’s important that it has been re-introduced into contemporary daily discourse, that is for sure, and my only hope is that this not only maintains itself without faltering, but continues to snowball.
Is there any new artists that you should keep an eye on?
I fell in love with the drawings of Japanese artist Asano Maiko when I was in Tokyo recently, and I’m always interested to see what NYC-based Julia Fox comes out with.
How would you describe your style? and you have any icons in fashion?
My style is pretty laid back, I generally just wear the first thing that comes to mind. Effort shows, and you have too much time on your hands if you overthink every outfit. Get busy and you’ll look your best. I’ve always loved Debbie Harry’s style, nobody has looked so glam in a tiny T shirt since her.
Girls Only NYC for Antonia is?
My happy place.
Antonia’s motto is?
Stop the J word jealousy from killing girl love. I stole that from the Riot Grrrls but somehow I don’t think they would mind… ;)