Donna Karan + ArtLeadHer = King Woman in Celebration of Women’s History Month




Lacey McKinney, Double Blind VII

In celebration of Women’s History Month, ArtLeadHer and Donna Karan will host a monthlong art exhibition of work by female artists ~ King Woman.

Female artist advocacy nonprofit ArtLeadHer is pleased to collaborate with fashion icon and philanthropist Donna Karan for an art exhibition and month of cultural programming in celebration of the 32nd-annual Women’s History Month. Curated by ArtLeadHer founder Mashonda Tifrere, King Woman will present a varied-media selection of work from 15 emerging and mid-career artists who explore themes of personal identity and femininity.

Sandra Chevier, La Cage et ce manteau de papier

The month’s programming will include conversations, receptions, and panels featuring experts such as Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, director at Jack Shainman Gallery, and Carmen Hermo, an associate curator at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. The exhibition and programming venue, Urban Zen, was formerly home to Donna Karan’s late husband Stephan Weiss’ art studio and has since been repurposed into a cultural venue honoring his legacy.

The exhibition, King Woman, consists of female-artist works that collectively represent a dynamic range of portraiture, from textiles to abstract gestural painting and photography. Explains curator Mashonda Tifrere:

“Artists selected for this show project their own gender identity in a powerful and unabashed way. The exhibition’s title, King Woman, intends to subvert the cultural notion that women should aspire to be just a ‘Goddess’ or a ‘Queen.’ Each artwork selected for King Woman emotively positions women subjects as the pinnacle of power and strength, while evoking a deeply human connection with the viewer.”

Tawny Chatmon Redemption

In alignment with ArtLeadHer’s practice of exhibiting emerging female artists alongside established names, King Woman will feature four works from Swoon. Other artists include figurative textile artist Bisa Butler (who recently exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of American History); Brooklyn-raised, “neo-female” painter Genesis Tramaine; Tawny Chatmon; Yulia Bas; Reisha Perlmutter; Lacey McKinney; Erin Armstrong; Lucinda Grange; Annette Hur; Delphine Diallo; Sandra Chevrier; Dagmar van Weeghel; Christine Wagner; and Elizabeth Waggett.

Bisa Butler, Survivor

ArtLeadHer’s work toward heightening female presence in the arts is twofold. Firstly: since its launch on Women’s Day 2016, the organization has hosted exhibitions that highlight emerging female artists alongside more established names. ArtLeadHer operates in a traditional gallery structure, giving 60% of proceeds from sold works to the artist. The remainder of sales proceeds—leading into the second part of ArtLeadHer’s women-in-the-arts advocacy mission—will benefit ArtLeadHer’s new Foundation headquarters at (and in partnership with) Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. The new facility, which seeks to expand ArtLeadHer’s roving mission to increase the representation of women in the visual arts, will provide services and programming to girls grades 8 to 12 through offerings such as artist talks and studio visits; museum and gallery trips; college readiness/guidance counseling and assistance with compilation of art portfolios for admissions applications; artist-in-residence opportunities; exposure to professional mentors; and more.

Genesis Tramaine, Skinny Mini

Both Donna Karan and ArtLeadHer founder Mashonda Tifrere have a history of using their public platforms to foster cultural initiatives within and beyond the arts. Tifrere, through ArtLeadHer, looks to increase representation of women in the visual arts by presenting a forum for emerging female artists to exhibit work among established industry names—then by channeling resources to provide structured visual arts education opportunities for underserved girls in New York City and Newark, New Jersey. Donna Karan, with her Urban Zen Foundation, aims to support preservation of culture around the world, bringing care back to healthcare, wellness, and education.

Isa Butler, Jean-Michel Basquiat

Said Donna Karan of the partnership: “When I look at Mashonda and all that she is doing with ArtLeadHer, she’s connecting the dots between women, art and our community. She brings together the most beautiful artists, highlights their talent and soul. She’s raising awareness and inspiring change, and that truly expresses what Urban Zen is about – Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Community and positive Change.”

Sandra Chevier, pouvoir des dieux

King Woman will be on view to April 7, 2019 at Urban Zen, 705 Greenwich Street, between 10th Street and Charles Street in Greenwich Village.  Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm, and Saturday from 11am to 6pm.

RSVP for Women Curating Women on March 12, 2019

About Urban Zen ~ Fashion icon and humanitarian Donna Karan founded Urban Zen in 2007. The foundation is dedicated to three initiatives: preservation of culture (past), bringing mind, body and spirit to healthcare (present), and education (future).