“And that by placing women artists in this collection, she could place them in a central place in the canon of modern and contemporary art.” Doolin has annually added to her initial gift of $750,000, enabling the museum to purchase 14 works by 8 artists to date, including, “The Brooklyn Museum, compared to many institutions of this type, does not have large pools of acquisition funds,” said Catherine Morris, senior curator for the Sackler Center. Footer. There is general agreement that women artists are in a far better position today than in 1971, when Linda Nochlin wrote her landmark essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” in ARTnews magazine. Mary L. Bennett, “Housetop”—Four-block variation, 1965. “If they were in a room with Jackson Pollock, everyone in the room would go to the Jackson Pollocks.”. Photo by Juan Arce. This month, the museum cleared out the entire third floor of its Art of the Americas Wing and filled it with works by female artists dated between 1920 and 2020. Installation view of “Women Take the Floor,” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “People are having difficulty justifying to their acquisitions committee the relative value of an artist they are championing,” said Lampkins-Fielder. It has been—and remains—the museum’s only acquisition fund, which means that the Nasher, whose current collection is approximately 16 percent female, is effectively only buying work by women artists. “Ultimately, the goal is not to reach a percentage but to create a paradigm shift in how we view the ways that systemic biases and social structures have influenced what is defined as artistic excellence,” Naeem said. The museum showed works of major women artists from its own collection. While the 12th edition of Documenta, directed by Roger M. Buergel in 2007, included 53 women out of 112—a promising 47 percent—Okwui Enwezor’s edition, in 2002, praised for its postcolonial curatorial strategy, included only 34 women out of a total of 118 participating artists—29 percent. The philosopher Kant argued … As Brooke Davis Anderson, of PAFA, put it, “There are so many great female artists and artists of color who are available and ready to partner with museums around the country that I don’t think this is a conversation of hurdles. Over 14 million American households visit art museums every year and 63 percent of Americans saw visiting an art/design museum as a cultural activity. Mary T. Smith, Untitled self-portrait, 1988. “We want people to have a hyper-awareness about representation.” How the BMA will sustain this effort past one year remains to be seen, but Naeem is hopeful that in that period, the initiative will have led to conversations about the value of women artists among the general public as well as art-world stakeholders, from dealers to collectors. The Guerrilla girlsdid not believe that the unequal representation of women in art history was a coincidence. Museums Still Lag When It Comes to Acquiring Works by Women Artists Between 2008 and 2018, artwork by women represented just 11 percent … And the self-congratulatory nature of our world is one in which the slightest inch forward is celebrated with a cannonade of excitement.”, Since 2014, Souls Grown Deep has transferred more than 300 works from its collection of African American artists from the South into 20 museums. © Mary L. Bennett. The overall disparities in the number of female art museum directors and in their salaries are mostly driven by the largest museums. According to a Yale University study from 2017, however, the Yale School of Art reached gender parity in 1983, indicating that a gender divide in the field of art in general was not the likely source of current inequities. Just 11% of all acquisitions and 14% of exhibitions at 26 prominent American museums over the past decade were of work by female artists. In 2010, it, “As institutions, we don’t have to allow our budget to limit us in providing access to women artists,” Brooke Davis Anderson said. Irene Williams, Blocks and strips, 2003. Photo by Mitro Hood. With money from the sale, the museum was able to buy works by Wangechi Mutu, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Mickalene Thomas, Rina Banerjee, Elizabeth Okie Paxton, and Joan Brown. museums were staging women-themed exhibitions, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”. “The art world runs on hype,” said Maxwell Anderson, Souls Grown Deep’s president. The bias of the collectors who donate works to museums is also at issue, as well as a longstanding bias toward male dominance in art history books. Limited-Edition Prints by Leading Artists. Through our work, we aim to improve gender inequity in the art world, righting the balance for women artists. Female Artists Represent Just 2 Percent of the Market. According to the researchers’ data set, the number of acquisitions of artwork by women peaked in 2009 at 3,462. Museums are much more likely to highlight exhibitions and acquisitions that look good in a news release, Ms. Halperin added. 5). Only 4 percent of the art acquired by the museum between 2008 to 2018 was by women — 3,788 of 90,215 works. Betye Saar, Liberation of Aunt Jemima: Cocktail, 1973. Maxwell Anderson added that museums often look to acquire “the same five or six artists” when attempting to diversify their collections. “So we had to be much more creative in thinking about how to add works to the collection.” While the museum used some internal funds for purchases, it also facilitated donations from people who participated in “A Year of Yes,” including artist, PAFA, too, actively works on cultivating gifts that diversify its collection from an intersectional perspective. The researchers declined to release complete data including each museum’s record on acquiring art by women. Only 8 percent of the work that the Museum of Modern Art exhibits is by women. The exhibition, called “Women Take the Floor,” features about 100 female artists. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum. At the end of March, BMA will announce its first round of acquisitions. Learn more about our advocacy work and how you can take action. “A museum who might be very open to diversifying collections can then have a challenging time fitting [the art] into the overall accepted narrative.”. The museum is also intending to be transparent about the process and will launch a micro-website to share information about the acquisition process, which also involves input from scholars and artists of various gender identities and backgrounds. A quarter of a century on and the issue of women artists being underrepresented by museums and galleries has failed to go away. In 2018, they collected 288 works by women. Photo by Mitro Hood. By some estimates, over 50% of visual artists are women, but less than 5% of the artists featured in the world’s most popular art museum galleries are female. Demographics & Compensation Though women earn 71% of the art degrees in Australia, only 33.9% of artists represented in state-run galleries and museums are women—a decrease of 3% from 2016. At the Tate in Britain, “women artists represent 10 percent in the collection of British art” (Deepwell 67). In most major American museums, 87 percent of all the art in their collections is by men, despite the fact that half of the professional artists in the U.S. are women. The curators of this year's Biennial exhibition did not choose the artists specifically on the basis of gender or race, but 2010 is the first Biennial to include slightly more female than male artists: twenty-nine women and twenty-six men. Joan Brown, “Self-Portrait,” 1977. I really think this is a conversation of opportunity.”, How These 7 Women Are Making the Art World More Diverse, The Women Artists Who Deserve Our Attention, According to 9 Leading Artists, How Female Artists Are Subverting Mainstream Portrayals of Women, Why the Hazy, Luminous Landscapes of Tonalism Resonate Today, A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum. “We assume that, given the commonly held belief that women artists are amazing, that there had been much more growth,” said Naima J. Keith, the vice president of education and public programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a curator. Before discussing why women are underrepresented in art history, two things are important to mention. But when Ms. Burns and Ms. Halperin reached out to museums for their institution’s data on gender parity, they found that few — if any — of the institutions had kept track. Gee’s Bend quilter Mary Margaret Pettway in the exhibition “Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum. Brown, who died in 1990, was a figurative painter from Northern California. “This should be the wake-up call. “I think she observed that many of our shows involved women, but the collection didn’t have that same representation,” Strick said of Doolin. The global market grew from $230 million to $595 million over that 10-year period, according to the data. Courtesy of The Baltimore Museum of Art. Smart News Keeping you current Study Shows U.S. These museums have operating budgets of more than $15 million and represent roughly the top quarter of member museums by operating budget. (This is, notably, significantly out of step with the US population at large, which is 61 percent white and 50.2 percent male, according to census data.) “When an art museum deaccessions work, the proceeds go right back into the collection,” she said. At one point in her career, Ms. Gadsden said she was skeptical about women-themed exhibitions because she feared that they tokenized female artists. That was the highest percentage of any museum in the study. The show is an effort to dedicate more space to women’s artworks. Installation view of “Zackary Drucker: Icons” at The Baltimore Museum of Art, 2020. Of course, that’s far better than Catherine David’s edition, in 1997 (Fig. The first female director included less than 17 … Women are often excluded from exhibitions within which one would think they would play major roles. “That cannot be told without the work of women and artists of color.” And yet, those are the very individuals who museums have excluded for decades, if not for over a century. © Estate of Mary T. Smith. Second, we identify museums that are outliers, having significantly higher or lower representation of certain demographic groups than the rest of the pool. “It makes it so evident to our community that we’re a museum committed to artists working today.”, Female Artists Made Little Progress in Museums Since 2008, Survey Finds. According to the Guerrilla Girls, less than four percent of the artists in the Modern Art section of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are women, but 76 percent of the nudes are female. “So those museums stop, drop their hands, and wait for a donation or promised gift by an affluent collector or trustee.” Souls Grown Deep—whose own collection has to overcome gender, racial, regional, and age-related biases—aims to expand these conversations by making work by historically ignored artists readily available, and by giving museums context to their practice. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Now, the Baltimore Museum of Art is trying to change that in a big way -- by only purchasing works by women artists in 2020. Elizabeth Okie Paxton, “Sick a-Bed,” 1916, is one of the works by female artists acquired by Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. “It’s the idea of women artists being more of a risk, which seems to speak to a sort of institutional timidity,” said Charlotte Burns, the executive editor of “In Other Words.”. “[Collecting] is driven by fashion and fads, and it’s disappointing to the extreme,” Maxwell Anderson said. 46% of all artists and arts workers in the U.S. are women. In 2015, the arts advocate Kaleta A. Doolin established an acquisition fund at the Nasher Sculpture Center specifically for art by women. Reaching gender parity in acquired work is likely to be more difficult at encyclopedic museums, which aim to represent art across history and geography. The barometer of achievement for female artists, experts agree, is not the number of solo and group exhibitions they are given, which are often less expensive and easier to mount, but direct purchases by the museum for their permanent collections, as well as donations. They wanted to expose sexual discrimination in the world of art, and they referred to themselves as ‘the conscience of the art world’ (Manchester, 2004). Courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Dr. Constance E. Clayton. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, for example, collected 21 works by women in 2008. With the exceptions of Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot , few female artists who worked prior to the 20th Century are considered part of the great art canon, and very few women artists are studied in art history textbooks . This situation is much the same in America and elsewhere—art museums around the world all have a shocking disparity between the number of female and male artists represented. However, the sale of women’s artwork in the global auction market comprises only 2 percent of the total market share, according to the researchers. Yet even this figure was … The number of exhibitions featuring female artists gradually climbed over the decade, more than doubling from 49 exhibitions in 2008 to 104 exhibitions in 2018. Do woman have to be naked to get into the Met Museum, asked the feminist art group Guerrilla Girls in their iconic 1989 poster, which referenced the fact that fewer than 5% of artists on display were woman yet 85% of the nudes were female. We need to be prodded into seeing the value of this work by advocates.”, Such efforts, ideally, will inspire more critical self-reflection in more museums and lead to truly radical measures designed to eradicate disparities. Portrait of Raina Lampkins-Fielder, Curator of Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership. “Collections grow through a combination of intention and happenstance—like bequests that might not have been planned for years—but the fact is that collecting women artists is increasing and that will have an impact on museums over time,” said Jeremy Strick, director of the, In 2015, the arts advocate Kaleta A. Doolin established an acquisition fund at the Nasher Sculpture Center specifically for art by women. “We’ve seen a number of shows that indicate that there’s been a seismic shift in how we’re viewing the art-historical canon,” said Raina Lampkins-Fielder, curator of Souls Grown Deep Foundation, referring to the stream of women-only exhibitions around the United States in the past decade. In 2013, the museum sold from its collection a painting by Edward Hopper to start a fund focused on buying contemporary art by women and artists of color, who were underrepresented in their collection. Advocate for Women Artists . That is particularly true of female action painters like Helen Frankenthaler and Elaine de Kooning, who have a gallery in the new exhibition. “We are trying to build a collection that tells a truthful history of American art,” Anderson said. In Swiss art museums as a whole, only 26 percent of the ... and at that time there were hardly any female artists. Since 2007, only 29 percent of the Whitney Museum's solo exhibitions were dedicated to women artists. First, we provide estimates of gender and ethnic diversity at each museum, and overall, we find that 85% of artists are white and 87% are men. 1995 saw Dame Elizabeth Blackadder in the 300-year history made 'Her Majesty's painter and limber in Scotland, she was awarded the OBE in … (Only Ms. Kusama is living.). © Estate of Irene Williams. The Hopper, “East Wind Over Weehawken,” sold for $36 million. And they should question how the established art-historical canon has influenced perceptions of artistic value. From 2008 to 2018, according to their data, 14 percent of all exhibitions were either solo shows featuring female artists or group exhibitions in which the majority of artists were female. “The more we can see women in positions of leadership who understand the need to address these huge gaps, the more we’ll see progress. 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