The panel discussion, moderated by W’s Editor-in-Chief, Stefano Tonchi, did not shy away from sensitive questions. Featured panelists, Visual Artist, Shirin Neshat, Pratt Institute Alumna, Filmmaker and Visual Artist, Mickalene Thomas and CEO and Director of the Aspen Art Museum, Heidi Zuckerman, all handled the tough questions brilliantly.
Tonchi posed questions such as: “How does shooting a white woman vs. one of color affect your overall aesthetic?” “Do you ever feel persecuted because of your sense of style – in both your personal life and in your art?” “Many artists use fabrics and colors to represent revenge. How do you use them to create a safe space?” and more.
Mickalene Thomas admitted that she turned to the movie “Scarface” to look to a powerful white woman when tasked with shooting Jessica Chastain, one of the first white women she ever photographed. Noting this was a challenge for her, Mickalene spoke to the strength and sexuality both woman possess that allowed her to focus.
Shirin Neshat spoke to how art has not only let her thrive and be an extension of herself, but helped her survive within her home country of Iran. Heidi Zuckerman applauded both Shirin and Mickalene for their bravery seen through their art, but more importantly, for setting aside their fears as women in a male dominated business. Zuckerman concluded the discussion commending Shirin and Mickalene for giving her the opportunity to expose and influence the world through their art.
This exclusive group of influential women have had a profound impact on the art world and are currently shaping its future. The discussion explored the qualities that define a new generation of female artists and leaders in art, as well as the many different ways in which they have achieved success, despite obstacles and prevailing inequalities.