To mark the occasion of its 30th anniversary, London’s Saatchi Gallery has opened Champagne Life, an exhibit featuring the work of 14 female artists. While the gallery has a history of supporting women in the field—many of whom have gone on to have become big players in the world contemporary art (Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread, Cecily Brown)—Champagne Life is the gallery’s first show to focus solely on increasing the visibility of work by international emerging female artists.
The exhibit draws its name from the title of a featured piece by Brooklyn’s Julia Wachtel, a series of panels depicting cultural icons Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Mini Mouse. Cast in subaquatic blues and greens, Wachtel’s Champagne Life intends to evoke a sense of an artist’s transition from economic depression to the uptown highlife, and the empty cipher of perceived glamour. It is featured alongside works including Iranian-born artist Soheila Sokhanvari’s Moje Sabz, a taxidermy pony caught in a jesmonite blob, created in response to the Green Movement political uprising in Iran, 2009.
In presenting the exhibition, Saatchi Gallery does not claim to presume there is such a thing as an overarching vista of “female artistic practise”; rather, their intent is to confront the reality of gender inequality and the glass ceiling in the art world, and the world at large. A toast to that.