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MUNTHE ART MONDAY: GITTE JOHANNESEN


Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.


My name is Gitte, and I am the owner of SPECTA, a contemporary art gallery in Copenhagen K. In the gallery, I present contemporary art in virtually all media by both Danish and international artists.

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Gitte is wearing OSI jacket og OBBI pants.

Can you name some other female (artist or gallery owner) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

I am inspired by women in many contexts, especially female artists. These are women who work persistently and uncompromisingly for what they believe in, despite the expectations that still exist regarding how they should behave. I always find that strong and very inspiring. My gallery was founded by my mother, and she has been a great inspiration to me. She has—like many of the artists I have met—also worked uncompromisingly, persistently, and at times struggled to stay on course. She has also been a trailblazer; it was not at all expected that she would run a gallery for the latest contemporary art. My mother has run a business based on both enthusiasm and integrity, which I always strive to emulate.

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Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

Being a woman in my field is not particularly unusual, but as in many other industries, there is still a difference between being a man and a woman. In my case, I didn't initially think about it because my gallery was founded by my mother. So, for me, it was completely natural that a woman could run a gallery. I have noticed that there have been many male art collectors with whom it has been more natural for male gallerists to be friendly, thus making access to them different. As more women occupy the highest positions in the industry, as more women run galleries, and as more women collect art, I am hopeful. What surprises me the most is probably how slowly ingrained mindsets and perspectives change, both towards artists and other actors in and around the art industry. For example, female artists are often referred to as "female artists," while male artists are simply "artists." Being a woman is not groundbreaking, but simply defines half of the world's population…

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What has been the most challenging aspect of being a woman in the arts?


For example, there is still a difference in how men and women can act towards and interact with customers. There are certain forms of behavior related to sales that have historically been shaped and cultivated by and for men, a kind of joviality. There are unspoken expectations of how a woman should behave that do not apply to men. It is also clear to me that men automatically speak to men, which may stem from the historical relegation of women to the background and men measuring themselves against other men. This is not specific to the gallery industry but something I experience in many contexts, both private and professional. Many of the differences that still exist in the opportunities for men and women are structural and therefore not always directly visible. This makes it harder to define the differences concretely, but the differences are there.

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What would you like people to notice in your gallery and in the way you display art?

At SPECTA, I hope people find a sense of change, that each exhibition is a new experience. The gallery's program is varied, and in this way, the exhibitions will also point in different directions. With this variation in artistic approach, I also hope that visitors will experience that each of us contains multiple facets, and that we can therefore find resonance in different forms of art and not be limited to certain types of art. And I hope that those who visit the gallery notice a high level of quality in the art they encounter.

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Gitte is wearing OMAI jacket.

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