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Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri Has ‘Work to Do’ to Advance Female Artists

At the Brooklyn Museum’s annual Artists Ball, sponsored by Dior, the creative director of haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories collections talked about finding female talent and her art agenda for the summer.

According to Maria Grazia Chiuri, the effort to advance women artists will have to start in her own country.

The creative director of haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories collections at Dior said that she’s noticed concerted efforts to highlight female artists in the U.S. and France, but sees room for improvement in her native Italy.

“In Italy, we are suffering because there is not much space for many women artists. They are more concentrated on historical exhibitions,” she said, before highlighting several champions of female artists in the U.S., including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Chiuri served as co-chair at the latter’s annual Artists Ball, presented by Dior, alongside Regina Aldisert, Henry Elsesser, Marley B. Lewis, Janet Mock and Carla Shen. This year, the event honored artist-activist Carrie Mae Weems, whose multidisciplinary career spans photographs, text, fabric and installations.

Other attendees included Tracee Ellis Ross, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Swizz Beats, Christian Serratos, Kiersey Clemons, Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer, Thomas Doherty and Eli Brown, among others.

“I am very interested in this museum because it’s the first museum in New York that started to speak about women artists, so for me, it’s very important to be here,” Chiuri said of the Brooklyn Museum, acknowledging the irony of holding a dinner party next to Judy Chicago’s landmark feminist installation in the museum, “Dinner Party.”

“My dream,” she joked.

“The table for me is a reference in the history of feminist art — it was very inspiring in my work in Dior because we get to work with women artists to support all the artists around the world,” Chiuri continued.

During her latest trip to New York, Chiuri stopped by the International Center of Photography’s “Face to Face: Portraits of Artists” exhibit, which featured Dior collaborator Brigitte Lacombe. “I had never seen the International Center of Photography, which is unbelievable,” Chiuri said.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit “Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid” was also on her list. Chiuri won’t be at Monday’s Met Gala, however. “I can’t go to the Met this year because we have to realize our [next] show,” she added.

The designer’s art agenda for the summer is broad. “I want to go visit a new artist in galleries in Paris. We’re really obsessed with the exhibition made with [Francesco] Vezzoli. He put archeological statues from Rome and Greece in conversation with his work, and that’s super interesting. I saw that before coming to New York.”

She relies on her team to help her scout new artists, either for inspiration or collaboration.

“I didn’t have a specific [art] background, but I have a cultural team that supports me and I go to see exhibitions all around the world. And when I see something that resonates, there’s no other reason. It is usually something close to me. Art is specific — when you see something, you love it or not.”

Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer, Thomas Doherty and Eli Brown. LEXIE MORELAND/WWD


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