11 Most Influential Women in the San Francisco Art World
Wendi Norris, owner of the gallery of the same name. (Photo by Steven Brandsetter)

11 Most Influential Women in the San Francisco Art World


This is a woman's world.

Well, maybe not yet. But if the pussy-hat-wearers and #metoo whistleblowers and #timesup advocates and Hollywood starlets and badass female chefs have anything to say about it (and you know they do!), it will be soon. But did you know that the art world is already at the cutting edge?

According to a study by The National Center for Arts Research, women are already conquering the art world. Ladies have leading roles at 48 percent of American museums, and 54 percent of our small and midsize galleries are female-owned. In fact, some of the country's most prestigious art institutions are directed by women—including Lisa Phillips, of New Museum in New York; Anne Pasternak, of Brooklyn Museum, and Martha Tedeschi, of Harvard Art Museums—who pioneer innovative new programs and promote up-and-coming artists and burgeoning communities.

The Bay Area, unsurprisingly, is in step with this revolution, with fearless women of power at every major museum and dominating our gallery scene. Meet the local ladies who are changing the rules and shaping a supportive environment to bolster both local artists and our city's reputation as an international leader in art.

(Steven Brandsetter, Courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris)

Wendi Norris, founder of Gallery Wendi Norris

Her motivation. "I have always loved to provide indelible experiences that connect people and ideas. As a gallerist, I am able to amplify my artists' visions via gallery exhibitions, museum shows, biennials, art fairs, publications and public art projects—each of which offer exciting and distinctive opportunities to learn, explore and engage."

Works in progress. "I recently announced that Gallery Wendi Norris is pioneering a new gallery model by presenting exhibitions where it makes most sense for the artist and the specific body of work, taking advantage of underutilized space throughout the globe and creating opportunities where there is institutional, market and critical support. For example, in January I opened my first offsite exhibition for Cuban artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons, in a 6,000-square-foot former military training facility in the Presidio. In February, I presented a solo exhibition for Julio César Morales in Guadalajara's Torre Cube, an audacious inverted pyramid. Much of my time in 2018 will be spent supporting my 18 represented artists and artist estates in nearly 40 museum exhibitions and biennials ranging from the Reina Sofia, Louisiana Museum and Berlin Biennial in Europe to the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and the Prospect.4 Triennial in the Americas."

The Bay Area can do better. "The city should launch a three-pronged strategy that, one, rebrands itself as an inclusive arts city (not just a place for tech, food and wine); two, builds private-public partnerships to re-invest the riches that flow through the city and foster a more culturally rich place to live (the 1 percent arts requirement is an example of just one such program); three, address meaningful affordable housing reform so that artists can actually live and work here."

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