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A conversation with Frédéric Elkaïm

episode 9
Nov 21 2019

Frédéric Elkaim, a contemporary art expert and artist coach, shares his perspective on women achieving equity in the arts and why their work is so radical.

About our guest
Frédéric Elkaïm, is the former director of Drouot Formation, art market school in Paris, former art market specialist, and art consultant for the Circle Menus Pleasures in Geneva where he taught, advised, and coached artists, collectors, and businesses. An author of books, texts, and articles, his latest publication is entitled "Speak to you contemporary art", published by Magellan. He also founded the “Cercle franco-suisse des collectionneurs et amateurs d’art” (Franco-Swiss Circle of Art collectors and Lovers) with Rachel Dudouit.


Website Art Now!



Resources mentioned: Women in the art CycleCercle des menus plaisirs

“There are a lot of women and men working on this question of what is really being a woman, man, and how society considers it and how to cross this thing and go out from those categories”

Today’s podcast features special guest Frédéric Elkaim, a contemporary art expert and consultant, lecturer, artist coach, author, and the founder of Art Now!, a platform dedicated to connecting contemporary artists and art collectors. Elkaim is also an advocate for recognizing and elevating women artists as critical contributors to the artistic world.

One of his most recent efforts involved putting together a five-part lecture series on important women artists throughout history, in coordination with Yasmine Lavizzari, director of the galerie Air Project.

“We wanted really to go further than what ‘artistry’ is today,” he says, “ to underline who are those women artists and why they are so important in the evolution of art from modern art, impressionism, etcetera, to what we can see nowadays.”

Increasing the visibility of women artists

Although women have always been very involved in producing art, most of them show up in museums as the mothers, wives, daughters, and models of prominent male artists, rather than as celebrated artists in their own right.

“The fact of artistry has been written by men, and the art market too,” Elkaim says. “There were nearly always men leading the main museums, galleries, etcetera, and… even if they were very advanced and open minded, I have to clearly say that a part of ourselves [is] not sure that the woman artist is really serious. She’s not really professional as men are.”

Achieving equity in the arts

For things to change, everyone will have to make an effort, Elkaim says. More women need to be involved in the art world, and men need to feel personally responsible for changing things as well.“So for example, when I am preparing for my new program of talks, etcetera, I always have to think to integrate women artists,” he says.

He also pinpoints two themes that are central to the conversation around women achieving equity in the art world—considering the question of what gender is, and redefining what kinds of themes and types of artwork we are comfortable with.

“There are a lot of women and men working on this question of what is really being a woman, man, and how society considers it and how to cross this thing and go out from those categories,” he says.

But the other part of the equation is how women have traditionally tackled different, often radical and personal themes that men are less comfortable with, like family, rape, and inequality.

“They [women artists] are talking of things that are difficult to hear sometimes,” he says. “Men tend not to go there, possibly thinking that “it will involve me too much in the art, in the work... we don’t want to know something more about what I am, what you are, what is in my art, what is in my family, the secrets, etcetera.”

But even though these subjects are uncomfortable, they open up an opportunity for dialogue and self-reflection, for both artists and art collectors.

“We are the same and we are different at the same time,” he says, “So all the differences are an opportunity to think of yourself, herself, himself.” 


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