In case you hadn’t noticed, the art world has completely embraced the digital realm. IRL art fairs feel like a lifetime ago and Zoom has become the new normal. And in the midst of this madness there are a number of female artists, gallerists and other art practitioners who are firmly establishing themselves as the leaders of the digital art world. Want to know who they are?! Read on!
Gretchen Andrew, Artist @gretchenandrew
LA-based “search-engine artist” Gretchen Andrew has a background in information systems, which she uses to manipulate the artificial intelligence underlying the internet so that her art appears as top search results. Having successfully fooled the internet into showing her work at art installations in Artforum and Frieze Art LA, she has now turned to the US presidential election. Her latest work, The Next American President project uses artificial intelligence to replace expected images of presidential candidates with her own artfully imagined futures.
Katy Hessel, Founder The Great Women Artists, @thegreatwomenartists
There probably isn’t an art girl out there who doesn’t follow The Great Women Artists on Instagram. Since starting her hugely influential IG account in 2015 Katy Hessel has started a podcast, collaborated with Dior and curated exhibitions. Proof that good social media can go a long way!
Elena Soboleva, Director Online Sales David Zwirner, @elenasoboleva
Elena Soboleva’s first art world role was at Artsy in 2012, where she was a contemporary art specialist, going on to work with Artsy’s special projects. She first started working for David Zwirner in 2018 as the gallery’s first ever online sales director. She can partly thank her Instagram following for landing her the role (she had 13,900 when she was hired, and now has 22,700!). Soboleva runs the gallery’s online sales operation and helps with social media.
Cao Fei, Artist @cao_fei
Cao Fei’s artwork uses digital means to examine the daily lives of Chinese citizens born after the Cultural Revolution, exploring internet culture and the borders between dreams and reality. Known for her films and interest in virtual reality, she even developed her own virtual city called RMB City. Her work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Natasha Arselan, Founder AucArt @auc.art
Natasha Arselan launched AucArt in 2017 as the only auction house specialising in graduate art and quickly becoming known for championing early career artists. Today AucArt also works with more established names, enabling collectors from anywhere in the world to discover rising talent and buy directly from artists’ studios.
Olive Allen, Artist @olive_allen
Working at the intersection of art and technology, Olive Allen’s work comments on climate change, the extinction of species and inevitably coronavirus. With experience working in Silicon Valley, Olive focuses on creating digital character-based artworks that can be owned by several people. With a strong belief that an artist has to be driven by the urgency of modern life, she reflects and comments on the current state of affairs in the world while engaging the audience.
Kimberly Drew @museummammy
Kimberly AKA Museum Mammy is famous for being the former social media manager of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While in college, she had a Tumblr blog – Black Contemporary Art – focusing on contemporary art by black artists, ensuring that these artists were part of recorded history.
Karen Vidangos, Social Media at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and Founder of Latina In Museums, @latinainmuseums
Karen Vidangos founded Latina in Museums while in graduate school in 2016. Tired of feeling underrepresented in cultural institutions, she felt empowered to speak about it by creating a digital space. Exploring the underrepresented perspectives in the museum field, she also highlights the Latinx community who take up space in cultural institutions. As a social media specialist, she finds comfort in exploring, researching, discussing and centering black and brown stories online. In addition to all this, she is the social media manager at the Smithosonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
Rachel Rossin, Artist @rachelrossin
Based in New York, Rachel Rossin was The New Museum and New INC’s first-ever virtual reality fellow. A self-taught programmer, Rossin creates imaginary digital worlds that blend together images from pop culture and art history.
Text Lizzy Vartanian