July 24, 2018

Artist Protests Sexism on Academy of Fine Arts Vienna’s Façade

VIENNA, AUSTRIA—Artist Katharina Cibulka has installed a large-scale textile work on the façade of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna declaring “AS LONG AS THE ART MARKET IS A BOYS’ CLUB, I WILL BE A FEMINIST.” The piece is a continuation of the artist’s Solange project, which has embroidered feminist slogans on construction netting at sites across Austria, with future installations planned for sites in Munich and Zurich.

The project is supported by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and will remain on view until a renovation of the academy’s Schillerplatz building is complete in 2020. Academy of Fine Arts Vienna is the first and, so far, only Austrian institution of higher education to be led by a woman, rector Eva Blimlinger. It supports a robust advancement for women initiative for its administration and faculty and hosts the annual “Feminist Idols” conference.

“For centuries, women in fine arts were almost non-existent as artists. Access to art academies and studios was often only granted to them as models for painters and sculptors. Only in recent decades have they conquered their place in the art world, as artists and as gallery owners or directors of large museums,” Blimlinger said. “More women than men already study at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and gender relations are equal among teachers, and compared to Europe and the United States, it is the only university with more than fifty percent women. Nevertheless, the road to the top is still long, because the art market is still dominated by men”

Cibulka, who graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2004, noted its pioneering feminist mission in the male-dominated art world, “There are still many hurdles to overcome in the international art market until men and women are placed on equal footing, because the work of male artists is rated much higher than that of women.”

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