Sometimes it just takes a woman.
Organizers are gearing up for the third annual Memphis "Venus Envy," an art show entirely organized by women and featuring only women artists. The show will be held Saturday, March 27th, at a location to be announced.
"When I look through the Flyer's solo show listings," said chairwoman Wendy Sumner Winter, "by and large, it's men who get solo shows. Does that mean women aren't producing art? Obviously, that's not the case."
"Venus Envy" was founded several years ago in St. Louis and then traveled downriver to Memphis and Baton Rouge. Winter said that the event is both a way to demonstrate that art is happening in the middle of the country and give women an opportunity to show their work. She's quick to say, however, that organizers are not man-haters. A planning meeting last week at a Midtown coffee-shop drew about 15 women of various ages; many of them were married or had children.
"We're not exclusive or reactionary. We're just looking at [women's] contributions," said Winter. "We work together without men not because we hate them, but because it's fun to do things without them."
But show organizers do need men for some things. Last year, the show included a popular "peeping at Tom" installation, featuring a man in a booth wearing a G-string. This year, the show may have male bartenders. And there's always heavy lifting.
"We definitely need and want men volunteers," said Winter. "They just can't be in charge of anything."
Winter helped organize the event last year and said the group has made some changes this time. "We didn't take any of the proceeds of the art that was sold, and we can understand that, but the public can't," she said. This year, money raised will help fund a scholarship for a female artist at Memphis College of Art.
All 30 artists in last year's show will be invited back, so the group expects about 50 artists to participate. And they're always looking for other women to help out.
"We want everything to be low-stress so we don't all turn into bitches," said Winter.