A conversation with Ursina Gabriela Roesch & Mark Damon Harvey of FATart
season 3 episode 6
apr 28 2021
apr 28 2021
The founders of “FATart” talk about inspiration, intersectionality, and why women artists should charge more
About our guestFemme Artist Table (FATart) is a Swiss art association that has been campaigning for an equal opportunities and the inclusion of women | FLINT in the art world since 2016. FATart develops and presents activities and exhibitions year round. We confront the ongoing discrimination against FLINT in the art world - let's get FAT! Our guests are Ursina Gabriela Roesch (she/her) Initiator, Co-President, Projekt manager & Mark Damon Harvey (he/his)
Initiator, Co-President, Chief Intersectionality Officer
Ursina Gabriela Roesch
Mark Damon Harvey
“We should talk more about money… because a lot of women are in this kind of ‘making everything for everyone for nothing”
FATart Fair 2020
(Works from left to right)
Rosmarie von Scarpatetti, Margrit Schlumpf-Portmann, Dominique Belvedere, Lyn Bentschik, Alexandra Häberli
“I think it’s really important that we have built up a network and our network is totally open, our whole thing is basically radical inclusion”
FATart Fair 2020
(from left to right)
Cath Brophy, Fiorenza Bassetti, Pia Simmendinger, Rosmarie von Scarpatetti
Being John Roesch © urgart as part of a workshop with artist Diane Torr
“I needed to have this experience of being a macho... it was very disturbing ”
I’m very pleased to welcome Ursina Gabriela Roesch and Mark Damon Harvey to the Raw and Radical podcast. Ursina and Mark are the co-founders of The Femme Artist Table (FATart), which is Swiss organization devoted to elevating women artists’ presence, voice, visibility, attention, and acceptance within the art world.
The inspiration behind FATart
“The Femme Artist Table project came from this experience that I am a woman in the art business and I don’t have the same opportunities that men have,” Ursina says.
She wanted the project to be inclusionary—a place where women could come together, sit at the same table, and talk about art and the business of art—which inspired the name Femme Artist Table and naturally led to the slogan.
For Mark, who was already involved in a number of cultural and racial movements, the concept of FATart was a given.
“For me, in the sense of intersectionality and cultural integration, it was obvious to me that it would be a good idea to do something like FAT because it was just logical. It was illogical for me that it didn’t exist already,” he says. “It’s not about just being radical or contrary… it was something that was an obvious step toward the future that was missing.”
Ursina and Mark launched the nonprofit FATart Fair in 2018, which featured 55 independent women artists in its first year, and has doubled in size since.
Women getting FAT
One of the biggest changes they see for participants is a willingness to put themselves out there more and charge more, and many women have gone on to start galleries or create new projects.
“We should talk more about money… because a lot of women are in this kind of ‘making everything for everyone for nothing,’” Ursina says. “It’s a question of consciousness. A question of aims. A question of ‘how I see being an artist as a professional.’”
Mark agrees, but also sees it as endemic to society and the roles women have traditionally been regulated to.
“Women have been in general saddled with the idea of care work,” he says. “They’re responsible for taking care of so many things without being paid, and I think that’s also one of the reasons why they’re not used to being paid correctly when they do something that men are doing too.”
The two have found that those traditional roles bleed over into other aspects of professionalism too.
“Ursina was really pushing artists to talk to each other about their work and not about their kids or their living situations and things like that,” Mark says. “It’s interesting that that is a real, necessary shift of perspective for women artists, that when they get together they really talk about their work.”
Building an inclusive network
Although the FATart Fair is their biggest and perhaps most well-known project, Mark is quick to point out that FATart has multiple events and smaller showings, and is focused not just on promoting women artists, but also on improving cultural awareness and encouraging more diversity within the artworld.
“I think it’s really important that we have built up a network and our network is totally open, our whole thing is basically radical inclusion,” Mark says.
“Anyone that’s even a little bit interested in what we’re doing, they should get involved with us. They can subscribe to our newsletter, come to Zurich and meet us,” he says. “We’re interested in everything. If there’s an open platform for art in Switzerland, we’re it.”
FATart Fair 2021 Open Call
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Art historian and curator
for Jeu de Paume, Paris