Tokion Privileges Male Creativity At This Year’s Conference

by Art Fag City on October 9, 2006 Events

Undoubtedly the most important activist effort in the art blogosphere right now began last Tuesday, when gallerist Jen Bekman observed that Tokion’s latest conference Creativity Now, included 23 male panelists and moderators and 0 female participants. The Design Observer, linked to the story on Friday, and Tokion, ignoring the negative press generating on the web, sent out a mass email later that day announcing that they have invited five more men to the conference.

During this time, conference organizer, Ken Miller has responded twice to the numerous posts at Personism, in both instances blaming women for their own exclusion! As he sees it, he did everything he could, since the conference asked a number of women to attend, all of whom declined. Now, it’s no surprise that Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, and Sofia Coppola, couldn’t clear their schedules for this event, but surely within the art A-list community there are 10 women who would have accepted the invitation. It is offensive that this conference could not come up with even one female to replace those who passed up the discussion. What’s more Ken Miller at no point provides a full list that includes all of the men and women invited and indicates exactly who accepted and who declined. If the conference invites twenty women and forty men, and twenty from each group decline, the list he provided on Personism is virtually meaningless.

Wooster Collective has created an open letter to Tokion speakers and moderators urging them not to participate unless they ensure women are on the speakers list. Art Fag City has signed this letter, and we encourage you to do the same. The list of participants is below:

Cory Arcangel, GrĂ©goire Basdevant, Alex Burnard, Ron Galella, Doug Holroyd, Eli Horowitz, Jerry Hsu, Mitchell Hurwitz, Chris Johanson, Kim Jones, Natas Kaupas, Jason LaBeach, Jason Lee, Christian Marclay, Matmos, Patrick McMullan, Mike Mills, Phil Morrison, Os Gemeos Proenza Schouler, Graham Rounthwaite, Justin Theroux, Olivier Zahm, Wonder Showzen, David Cross, Carlo McCormick, Glenn O’Brien, Stephen “ESPO” Powers, Greg Foley Chris Pastras, John Cameron Mitchell

UPDATE: For those who are just tuning into the debate Wooster Collective just posted their email correspondence with Ken Miller and are discussing adding a panel at the conference dedicated to this issue, in addition (we hope) to more women participants.

Jen Bekman has announced she will be planning her own conference in the spring of 2007 conference that will be first and foremost about ideas/trends in art/design/tech/media with an eye towards diversity in regards to panelists, presenters and attendees. Tokion has offered to support this conference, with the stipulation that it be an all women’s conference.

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