Karlie Kloss on the Importance of Celebrating Women Artists

Karlie Kloss on the Importance of Celebrating Women Artists

Guest curator Karlie Kloss speaks about the power of creating avenues for young women to succeed in both art and technology.
Guest curator Karlie Kloss speaks about the power of creating avenues for young women to succeed in both art and technology.

“M y mom is an artist and my dad is a doctor, so their brains have very different ways of operating. I always identified more as a math and science nerd, hence why I started Kode With Klossy. I wanted to help other young women realize the power of these technical skills – and of learning how to code. We serve to empower them and give them access to those tools so that they can solve problems that they experience in their lives or express ideas that they are passionate about.

It is such a privilege to now be the guest curator of this season’s Contemporary Curated auction at Sotheby’s. Art is also an expression of an idea. Art is about what was happening in an individual’s life or in the world. It’s a feeling. It is about an individual taking the mediums of the moment and expressing how they feel about life, beauty, war – about inspiration from any direction.

Growing up, I didn’t have art on the walls of my family home, but I would go to the Saint Louis Art Museum with my mom and my sisters. One of my favorite works there was Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer. I could feel the emotions on her face, and I would think about what was happening in the world at that time and about the atelier in Paris where Degas was working. Seeing work by artists I’ve read about, I like to think that I can understand what the artist was feeling – what they were trying to say, which will outlive any one of us. That’s the power of art.

“Seeing work by artists I’ve read about, I like to think that I can understand what the artist was feeling – what they were trying to say, which will outlive any one of us. That’s the power of art.”

For Contemporary Curated, I chose to honor women artists, some of whom I’ve known and loved, such as Yayoi Kusama, and some artists that I’ve learned about more recently. I curated only female artists because someone who does not know the artist will see a beautiful piece without being preoccupied by the gender of who created it. It is the same thing with technology: you don’t know who coded and designed the website or app you’re using, but it exists as an expression of an idea coming from a place of emotion and passion.

That is why it is so important to have diversity of thought, diversity of lived experience, diversity of all shapes and kinds in both technology and art, and to celebrate that.

Karlie Kloss speaks at an event at Sotheby’s. Photo by Jason Crowley / BFA.com

March is Women’s History Month. Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in both the art and technology industries – as well as in fashion. There are many barriers to entry, both historically and today, and so I wanted to use this opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements. That includes artists who may be well known, such as Kusama; ones taking the world by storm, such as Jadé Fadojutimi; and ones who were not celebrated in their time but are finally getting their moment in the sun, such as Lynne Drexler.

There are a lot of parallels between the worlds of technology and art – in part because both can be incredibly intimidating. It remains incredibly hard for all people, but especially young women, to enter these fields. At Kode With Klossy, we create access by building skills through our coding camps and by celebrating women in technology. In the same way, an auction like this one celebrates amazing female artists of the past century and their work – and in that way, plays a huge part in inspiring the next generation of women artists.”

– As told to Carla Decombes

Contemporary Art

About the Author

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

arrow Created with Sketch. Back To Top