Recent data has shown that 65% of the cultural workforce in New York is female. However only 51% of executive roles are taken by women and 50% board positions are occupied by women. This means that despite clear numbers in the representation of women in the cultural workforce these high numbers do not necessarily translate into more representation in positions of power. While 50% and 51% are fair demographic representations they do not account for the high degree of female representation generally in the cultural workforce. One is then left to wonder why this is the case. Part of the reason as to why is because of systemic factors such as the patriarchy which help keep women out of positions of power.
Sandy Cohen is a female, New York based artist who identifies as LGBTQ+. She has first hand experience of the nature of the art scene in New York and how it is in certain senses dominated by men. She is actively involved in working towards a more representative art scene which includes the perspectives of women and the LGBTQ+ community. Her art includes the social messages of empowerment for these communities.
Background of Artist Sandy Cohen
Sandy Cohen is a famous New York City and Hamptons based artist. Her works have been showcased in multiple galleries and publications internationally. However, it was not an easy climb to where she is today. Garnering recognition in the world of fine art while having to traverse through a misogynistic and ableist society makes the fruits of her labor all the more sweet.
Artist Sandy Cohen disrupting the art scene
Cohen’s work is featured in galleries all around the world and her art is in the collections of prominent public figures. She aims to be an empowering voice for women and the LGBTQ+ community alike. Among her work is a collection titled “Feminine Energy”, a series inspired by female strength and sensuality. It is set to debut in a prestigious modern art gallery in SoHo this September. The pieces are hand painted on oak and combine fine art imagery with a street art flavor. A few pieces from the collection have already been pre-purchased before the exhibition. Limited edition prints will be available as well. Another one of her socially important collections is her “Out and Proud” series. It has been described as provocative as well as powerful by art critics. The collection is meant to create visibility and inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community. Cohen recalls that growing up in a heteronormative dominated generation made it nearly impossible to find positive LGBTQ+ characters and role models in pop culture. She states that there were a few stereotypically “gay acting” characters sprinkled into Saturday morning cartoons. In this collection Cohen decides to “out” these characters in a positive and light hearted way. The “Out and Proud” collection has been featured in multiple magazines and recieved loving support from cast members of the revolutionary hit series “Queer as Folk”. Sandy Cohen was also commissioned by Judith Kasen-Windsor to make the first NFT of Edie Windsor who was an incredibly prominent figure in the fight for gay marriage.
Cohen disrupts the male-dominated New York art scene by not only being a female presence in a male space but also by agitating for female empowerment through her work. In this way she is pushing forward the cause of gender equality while also taking up space in the scene as a woman. Artists like Sandy Cohen help to advance the cause of equality, making it easier for future generations to come.