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Beyond Representation: Gender Equity in the Gallery System

  • Pen + Brush 29 East 22nd Street New York, NY, 10010 United States (map)

Join POWarts for the second part of our summer series tackling issues of representation, visibility, and criticism in the arts. This series of panel discussions raises essential questions about feminism and diversity in the arts, providing a framework for all industry professionals to better address and understand these issues.


Representation, visibility, and positioning are central to contemporary debates surrounding female artists and the gallery system. Is representing an equal number of male and female artists enough, or is a more fundamental disparity at play? How can gallerists work beyond tokenism and take into account intersectional and queer feminisms? How might gallerists support the careers of female artists without treating them as inherently different?

This panel on the gallery’s role in promoting and championing women artists features Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, director at Jack Shainman Gallery and founder of We Buy Gold, Wendy Olsoff, co-founder of P.P.O.W, and Cristin Tierney, owner of Cristin Tierney Gallery. The conversation will explore the opportunities and challenges facing those who seek out a more balanced roster in the commercial gallery environment.

This series is moderated by William J. Simmons, a feminist art critic, lecturer in art history at the City College of New York, and Mellon Foundation Fellow in Women's History at the New-York Historical Society. 

About the speakers:

Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels is a Director at the Jack Shainman Gallery. As a Director she manages artists within the gallery roster including Hank Willis Thomas, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Meleko Mokgosi. Her multi-faceted role includes building and maintaining institutional and client relationships, organizing and presenting exhibitions, and strategic planning for long-term goals and growth of the gallery. Joeonna is also the founder of We Buy Gold, a roving art space presenting exhibitions, commissioned projects, and public events. The inaugural project located in Bedford - Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is a suite of four exhibitions (ONE., TWO., THREE. And The Yard), which encourage the dissection and deconstruction of structures of power by artists working in a cross-section of media. She is also a Director of For Freedoms, the first artist-run Super PAC which uses art to inspire deeper political engagement for citizens who want to have a greater impact on the American political landscape.

Wendy Olsoff is Co-founder of P.P.O.W now located in Chelsea, NY. Begun in 1983 in the East Village, P.P.O.W is known for exhibiting work with political and social relevance. Olsoff has lectured extensively throughout the United States at universities and museums. The gallery is a founding member of Moving Image and a member of the Art Dealers Association of America where Olsoff is currently serving on the Board of Directors. She is a founding Charter member of the Feminist Art Council at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum and also served on the BRIC Arts Council, Brooklyn. In 2012, Wendy Olsoff was a recipient of the Visual AIDS Vanguard Award for the gallery's dedication and support of artists in the LGBT community and the gallery's work to fight censorship.

Cristin Tierney is the owner of Cristin Tierney Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in the heart of New York’s Chelsea gallery district. The international exhibition program emphasizes critical theory and art history, with an attendant interest in under-recognized artists and art movements of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Prior to founding the gallery, Cristin was an advisor to a number of private collectors and institutions, and she was a consultant for many years at Christie’s auction house. She has taught graduate level seminars on the history of the art market at Christie’s Education and undergraduate art history at New York University. Cristin has also served on the boards and committees of several nonprofit organizations and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.

The second and final event of the Summer Series kicks off on Wednesday at 6:30pm with mingling and a wine reception followed by the panel discussion from 7:00 to 8:30pm, generously hosted by Pen + Brush.

For over 122 years, Pen + Brush has been the only international nonprofit organization offering an outlet for women in both the literary and visual arts in the city of New York. Pen + Brush provides a platform to showcase the work of excellent female artists and writers to a broader audience with the ultimate goal of effecting real change within the marketplace.