Visual artist/curator Savannah Spirit has been there and done that, but until recently there were two things that she could not claim: producing an NFT and exhibiting in the ‘Every Woman Biennial’, currently at the Superchief Gallery NFT.
“I just dropped my “genesis piece!” she exclaims, using the favored reference for a first time with “Non-Fungible Token,” a digital artwork that we would explain further if we had the space (luckily, you can Google it). Spirit was thrilled that it landed in an exhibition as special as the EWB, a group effort that EWB Managing Director Molly Caldwell calls ” an egalitarian show for women and non-binary artists. We are an all-volunteer organization that believes in women helping women, sharing the love and helping artists to share their art.”
Founded in 2014 by artist C. Finley as the “Whitney Houston Biennial” – a reaction to the Whitney Museum’s lack of female presence in its biennial show – the show has become a celebration of non-male art and the latest edition had an opening that was kicked off in high style by a “flash mob” dance party in Washington Square Park, a few blocks away from the gallery. Under the direction of choreographer Natalie Lomonte, nine dancers ( including Lomonte ) with varying backgrounds — broadway, flamenco, opera, music video, etc. — had a blast performing their routine alongside (and on) the edge of the fountain to Ms. Houston’s classic “My Love is Your Love.” It turned into a free-form dance party with tunes such as “I’m Every Woman” and “Dancing Queen” inspiring the sizable crowd to let loose.
“It was our gift to the city,” explained Lomonte. “We wanted to share the love and joy.”
The “Divine Dance Party,” as she called it, continued out of the park and up Fifth Avenue to the gallery on East 11th St., where the show featured the work of 300 artists rotating on backlit screens in a dark room with accompanying QR scans to provide artist info.
Ed Zipco, director and co-founder of the Superchief Gallery, is “incredibly proud to bring hundreds of female-identifying artists of all ages to the NFT space.” (The age range of the artists is 19 – 93 years old.) He said that he wants to “truly thank EWB for doing the important work of bringing this community together again and trusting us with their vision.”
More than just a chance for artists to show their work, the NFT end of things has been a learning experience for both the contributors and the organizers.
“It was new to me,” Caldwell admitted, “but now I know a lot more about it. Many of the artists, at first, didn’t understand the NFT and had a lot of technical questions. We taught them how to mint their work and the artists have been grateful to learn the process of a new art form.”
Spirit’s piece “A.I. Love,” which comments on the nature of dating after the pandemic, began its gestation a few years ago but she reveals that she “didn’t know what I was creating it for.” After being chosen from an open call to participate in the EWB, Spirit revisited the raw work and brought it up to date to its current state.
Her learning curve also brought the knowledge that “NFT’s have been dominated by men. This is the first huge collection of NFT’s by women and non-binary artists. It’s groundbreaking in that way and there’s some amazingly strong work in the show.”
Despite some technical difficulties – which have since been remedied – Caldwell loved the opening night. “It was such a joyous celebration of art and artists,” she said. “And we are so happy to have facilitated that.”
Every Woman Biennial info: http://2021.
Gallery info: http://www.