Rachael Ray is helping empower women through an art installation called “Walls By Women.”
Ray will feature works from four women artists — all New Yorkers — throughout this season of “Rachael Ray” in the show’s “audience holding area,” where viewers wait before entering the studio to watch that day’s taping. The first installation, “Limitless” by Leah Tinari, will be on display until Nov. 1, and will be followed by artwork from Lady Pink, Caryn Cast and pop-art-inspired artist Indie 184 (dates to be determined).
“It’s a fun little twist,” says Ray. “I think our dressing rooms for our guests are awesome … but the thing that’s always sucked was that audience holding area, which has cheesy, forced pictures of me acting like I’m not having my picture taken.
“Only 5 percent of the art in museums around the world represents female artists … and I’ve invited some artists to put up actual installations,” she says. “Women are so underappreciated. A friend introduced me to Leah [Tinari] who’s a very popular street artist and a popular illustrator — she’s just cool. She made wall art of 14 women she admires and left a blank spot in the middle so people can pop themselves into the art. Lady Pink works in chalk; Caryn Cast has kind of a female Banksy vibe.”
Ray is asked if “Walls By Women” was spurred by the women’s empowerment movement of the past year.
“It’s a conversation we have to have,” she says. “I value men … but it would be socially deaf to work in television and have a brand and media and not be noticing what the national conversation is and becoming part of that and making it relevant. These are all positive things … and the fact [the ‘Walls By Women’ artists] happen to all be female and New Yorkers is a bonus. I’m a person who wants to be relevant and positive-minded; we’re not doing aspirational TV but accessible TV and I want all people to feel welcomed.
“I don’t want to be confrontational.”
Earlier this week I chatted with Jimmy Kimmel about “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and its week-long visit to The Brooklyn Academy of Music, which starts Monday night (11:35 on Ch. 7). I also asked Kimmel about his status at ABC — he’s signed with the network through 2019 — and whether he’s been approached about hosting the Oscars, airing Feb. 24, 2019 (it would be his third time).
“To be 100 percent honest with you, I have not had any discussions with anybody,” he said about his deal. “Typically, we don’t make a big deal out of it; everybody waits until the last minute and then we decide if we’re going to go forward or not. I’ve been doing the show a long time [16 years] and it’s not going to go on forever. I’m not planning to end it anytime soon.”
And what about hosting the Oscars again?
“They haven’t even hired producers yet,” Kimmel said. “They always hire the producers before they decide who they’re going to ask to host,” he says. “It was fun [hosting], but I do think that you get to a point where it’s like, ‘All right, I think people have had enough of me.’ You do it twice; it’s like you did it. My hope is that nobody asks.”