Dead white males, you're on notice. Women artists may still be a minority in museum collections and major exhibitions, but that's changing — and art-world women exerted more influence than ever on this year's headlines. The Venice Biennale, also known as the art-world Olympics, was curated by a woman, as was the American pavilion. A female MoMA curator rehung the institution's galleries to give more space to underrecognized women artists. One woman named Marni Kotak actually gave birth inside a gallery, executing the most quintessentially female performance imaginable.
While not all contributions were necessarily positive, or even entirely serious (see: Kotak, Marni), it seems worthwhile to look back on the year through the lens of the women who defined it. Our list (presented in no particular order) leaves out perennial powerhouses like Sotheby's Lisa Dennison or dealers Mary Boone and Marian Goodman in favor of the ladies who made waves this year in particular — for reasons both quirky and compelling, fair and foul.
Click the slideshow above to see the women who shook up the art world in 2011