In association with the Royal Academy of Arts

Our favourite all-girl art collectives

Challenging the exclusionary structures framing the industry, these are the women injecting girl power into the art world

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the ardorous
From the series "Palm Springs", The Ardorous, founded by Petra Collins, is a rebuke against an art world that has ‘always been a "boys' club’Photography by Mayan Toledano

This article is part of a series on art today to support the Dazed x Converse Emerging Artists Award  Check out the rest of content here and make sure to visit the Royal Academy in London before 17th May to see all the work IRL. 

Girl power is, by definition, that intangible yet undeniable force demanding attention, recognition and appreciation. In short, when girls work together, great stuff is bound to happen. Thanks to Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, female artists are joining forces now more than ever – creating safe and supportive spaces for art production and exposure. In conjunction with this year's Converse and Dazed Emerging Artists Award, we profile the collaborative projects that are thriving despite being somewhat detached from the exclusionary (and often patriarchal) structures that frame the art world.

BALTI GURLS

The Balti Gurls are a multi-medium Baltimore-based troop channelling their cultural savviness through work that’s smart, experimental and fearless. Surveying and dissecting topics such as race, representation and gender, the collective – formed of self-identified black and brown artists – are keen to kick off conversations that are often omitted from the art world as a whole. As well as checking out Jenné Afiya Matthews’s lush collages and Christianna Clark’s Sp00ks series, peep the Balti Gurl Tumblr for nostalgic GIFs and Diana Ross appreciation.

THE BUNNY COLLECTIVE

Menstrual cycles, sexuality and violence are just some of the topics explored by The Bunny Collective – a group of 16 artists rounded up by Samantha Conlon. All members hail from the UK and Ireland, an intentional remit enforced to expose emerging female artists working outside of the US. Exploring female presence in an accelerated tech culture, their exhibitions tackle everything from online self-expression to ‘sweetness’ as a female trait dictated by society. Their first zine, an amalgamation of their latest work, is out now.

GO! PUSH POPS

Before we jump in to the details, here's a mini catalogue of glitchy neon realness served by radical feminist collective Go! Push Pops:

Push Porn” – A 13 minute 'nastay lucid dream about drugs, popsicles and gentrification', premiered at a Bushwick barbershop.

QUEEN$ DOMIN8TiN” – A collaborative performance made with Untitled Queen, a mashup of queer-body transcendence, Egyptian queen mythology and pop references.

The Clitney Perennial” – A fierce performance protest held during the 2014 Whitney Biennial, responding to the lack of female artists in NYC’s art scene.

Headed by Elisa Garcia de la Huerta and Katie Cercone since 2010, the duo often partner with different artists for each project, showcasing their feminist/Neo-Burlesque/shamanist work at locations such as The Brooklyn Museum, Apexart and The Bronx Museum of the Arts. Fearless and wild, Go! Push Pops unite seemingly disparate themes without neglecting their proudly feminist ethos.

THE ARDOROUS

A rebuke against an art world that has ‘always been a "boys' club’, The Ardorous demands that female artists get the same amount of visibility as their male counterparts. Founded by NYC photographer Petra Collins just as she was finishing high school, the collective unites some of the most talented young female artists out there, all of whom explore and interrogate notions of female identity through fashion, photography and fine art. Look out for Collins’s new girl-power-art tome, Babe (and our upcoming preview of it, released next month) featuring work from Ardorous alumni and text from Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson.

CLEOPATRA’S

Run by artists Bridget Donahue, Bridget Finn, Colleen Grennan and Erin Somerville since 08, Cleopatra's is a gallery/performance space/curatorial clique operating from a storefront in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – and they’ve already ploughed through over 90 projects thus far. Holding the flag for non-commercial experimentation, the collective aren’t really interested in making money from art sales, instead, most of their attention resides in creating connections between artists and communities. Unlike most art spaces, they never wipe the slate clean after each show; in fact, little remnants from past exhibits form a sort of breathing archive where new work constantly builds upon what’s come before.

GIRLS ONLY NYC

Fresh off a masters in curating, Bristol-born Antonia Marsh started Girls Only in an NYC studio during the spring of 2014, sticking a pin in the art world patriarchy. Through exhibitions, film screenings, residencies and talks, the transatlantic girl gang collaborate and converse between the US and Europe, forging a safe and supportive arena to make art. Keep an eye out for Girls Only temporary art spaces across Paris, London, Copenhagen and Berlin. Last year, when the collective teamed up with the Anti Agency, our favourite rainbow-haired artist Arvida Byström shared her short film with us, made exclusively for the London exhibition – relive it below.

m-a-u-s-e-r

Arty architect duo Asli Serbest and Mona Mahall aren’t really interested in skyscrapers, concrete and bricks. Instead, the collaborative studio research what they’ve coined as the ‘micro architecture unit star energy ray’. This delightfully cryptic practice involves creating multi-media work that explores space, objects and images and their place in the digital world – an approach they’ve pursued since 2007. Situated in Stuttgart and Istanbul, m-a-u-s-e-r perceives architecture as inhabiting, not just raw physicality but less tangible mediums like sound, video, graphics and text.

THE COVEN

The Coven's concern is a little different to its new media siblings. Rather than house glittering GIFs and shiny videos, the collective operates as a space to showcase more traditional practices such as sculpture and painting. Fronted by Luna e los Santos since July 2012, the 13-strong-collective exposes the diverse work of female and non-binary artists, exhibiting in Montreal, London and San Francisco. The Coven’s new show, DISCOMFORT, COMFORT, made in collaboration with curatorial performance project HAG, will be opening later this month in NYC.

WORLD WIDE WOMEN COLLECTIVE

As you might expect, World Wide Women is a pretty huge collective, now counting around 34 photographers and artists in its clan. Founded in 2012 by fine-art photographer Anouska Beckwith, this is a global group infusing female empowerment into their artistic practice whilst bypassing any sort of preachy undertones. WWW are not by any means ‘anti-men’, rather, they gear their energies towards creating spaces where women could make exciting and experimental work. The collective have exhibited in Paris, Gstaad and London so far, and continue to create immersive experiences across the world.

PAULINE BOUDRY AND RENATE LORENZ

Intent on revealing ‘possibilities for a queer futurity’, Boudry and Lorenz create installations and film devoted to increasing the visibility of queer histories. Since 2004, the Berlin-based collective have surveyed neglected accounts, rummaging through abandoned photographs and films and weaving them into new narratives. With projects grand in scale (they once staged an installation in a huge derelict swimming pool) both artists provide an alternative lens to view the past and imagine the future. Their next exhibition, Loving/Repeating, will be on at Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, from 11 June.

Artists from The Bunny Collective and The Coven will be exhibiting from 6 - 8 May in Manchester, click here for more information

The Emerging Artists Award 2015 is free entry and is open from 18 April to 17 May at Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts