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The most powerful women in art pt.1

As a part of The Year Of the Woman at Catherine Ahnell Gallery we are highlighting women we think are having a great impact and are making extraordinary achievements within the arts and the art industry. Recently we posted a “37 top women in art” list. I

In this post we are going a bit more in depht in a couple of profiles in particular.


Photo courtesy of Quatar Museums

31 year old Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani has been named the queen of the art world. She chairs the board of the Quatar Museums and is in control of what is said to be the biggest art budget in the world. She is also a chairperson for Doha Film Institute and Reach Out to Asia. Quatar Museums oversee the country’s extraordinary ambitious art colletions and museums and has an annual budget estimated at around $1 billion.

Sheika Mayassa Al Thani is the 14th daughter in the Quatar royal family and the sister of the current emir. She has overseen purchases of Damien Hirst’s work as well as Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko not to mention the $250 million “The Card Players” by Cezanne.

Quotes by Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani: “Art and culture is a religion we can all practice. It’s a space to discuss, interact and show all works of art, as well as the people behind the creation of exemplary things. It acts as a facilitator to connect the other invaluable cultural entities in Qatar and the world with our community. We learn from these interactions on a daily basis.”

“The main focus of QM has always been in engaging local audiences with the rest of the world. Our strategy is in line with Qatar’s 2030 Vision. It bridges entities from the government and non-government sectors, private and public sectors – allowing creativity to flourish alongside our rapid development. More recently we have been entrusted by the Supreme Education Council to help develop the arts curriculum in schools as well as teacher training in arts education. This is significant because it ensures that students and teachers alike are using the museums and cultural institutions as extra-curricular labs where they learn real subjects from objects on display.”


Photo courtesy of New York Times and Ruven Afanador.

Described in New York Times as having “an almost psychic ability to pinpoint who and what in art will matter next” Clarissa Dalrymple is an independant curator and art dealer. Dalrymple has discovered and played an instrumental role in world recognition of several young artists of today. She was the one who introduced artist Matthew Barney to the Gladststone Gallery from where his career took off. She curated the solo debuts of Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Marc Quinn, Christopher Wool among others. Dalrymple was also among the first in the US to recognize the talent of painter Neo Rauch.

Asked what good art is Claryssa Dalrymple answered the following – quote from The Word Magazine: I think a lot of it is – to make as difficult an answer as the question – hard work. It is about three or four components and oddly enough the personality of the artist counts as well. The complexity of their intention is a major point, that it’s not a one-dimensional idea. When someone is struggling with their own philosophy – that’s what you want to see in a certain way. Not personal, but quite metaphysical.


Cindy Sherman is often called one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art. Some of her art pieces are also amongst the most expensive art pieces ever sold. Sherman is known to raising challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society, the media and the nature of the creation of art.

Under her more than 30 years long career Cindy Sherman has often worked with herself as the object. She captures herself in different personas in portraits that can bee seen as amusing as well as disturbing, distasteful and very affecting. The first photographs she took of her self would come to be known as the Untitled Film Stills and are perhaps the most well known and recognizable work of Sherman’s career. The work on them began around 1977 when Sherman moved to New York. In the photos Shermann dresses up in the roles of B-movie actresses playing the roles of characters. In each of these photographs, Sherman plays a tarchetypal housewife, prostiture, woman in tears etc. and these are not ment as self portraits nor real persons but Sherman playing a fictional person.

Cindy Herman is also a director and her debut came in 1997 with the film Office Killer, starring Jeanne Tripplehorn.

Collections by Cindy Sherman are held in, among others, the Tate Gallery, London; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.

In 2012 MoMa did a retrpospectiv of Cindy Sherman’s work which included more than 170 of Sherman’s photographs.

Quoted from Artsy: “I didn’t think of what I was doing as political,” she once said. “To me it was a way to make the best out of what I liked to do privately, which was to dress up.”

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