“It’s like hydrogen—invisible, but it’s powerful. The museum showed works of major women artists from its own collection. That is particularly true of female action painters like Helen Frankenthaler and Elaine de Kooning, who have a gallery in the new exhibition. Only about 23 percent of solo gallery shows at top New York sites feature pieces by female artists. 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. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum. Maybe we haven’t done enough.”. Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. 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. That is certainly a different picture from 25 years ago, when only 14 percent of museums in the association were run by women, and a slight improvement from 38 percent five years ago. Smart News Keeping you current Study Shows U.S. And contrary to any hope that acquisitions of artworks by women are inching upward, the percentage remained relatively stagnant, according to the data, released on Thursday. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. 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. Installation view of “SHAN Wallace: 410” at The Baltimore Museum of Art, 2020. “And they are unaffordable,” he said. A quarter of a century on and the issue of women artists being underrepresented by museums and galleries has failed to go away. 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. Footer. This assumption of progress is being sharply challenged by new data showing that between 2008 and 2018, only 11 percent of art acquired by the country’s top museums for their permanent collections was by women. The researchers declined to release complete data including each museum’s record on acquiring art by women. “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. Photo by Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio. Museums Still Lag When It Comes to Acquiring Works by Women Artists Between 2008 and 2018, artwork by women represented just 11 percent … 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. Joan Brown, “Self-Portrait,” 1977. These museums have operating budgets of more than $15 million and represent roughly the top quarter of member museums by operating budget. Real commitment to gender parity requires institutions to take on greater investments, risks, and a willingness to interrogate their own practices. Betye Saar, Liberation of Aunt Jemima: Cocktail, 1973. “The campaign’s goal is to reinforce the numerous conversations around the globe about gender parity in the arts,” a representative for the museum wrote in a statement to The Huffington Post. 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. It collected 21 works by women in 2008. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum. All six recipients to date are women invested in the creative landscape of the African American South. Museums are much more likely to highlight exhibitions and acquisitions that look good in a news release, Ms. Halperin added. Ms. Gadsden said that part of the problem is that only a fraction of their acquisitions are purchased by the museum; much is donated by collectors, and so relies on their personal purchases. Countess Report 2019 Museums and galleries across the UK staged exhibitions on historic and contemporary female artists, with events that celebrated 100 years since British women won the right to vote. Before discussing why women are underrepresented in art history, two things are important to mention. Female Artists Represent Just 2 Percent of the Market. 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. Courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. At one point in her career, Ms. Gadsden said she was skeptical about women-themed exhibitions because she feared that they tokenized female artists. The exhibition, called “Women Take the Floor,” features about 100 female artists. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, for example, collected 21 works by women in 2008. Elisabeth Louise Vigée le Brun, Portrait of Countess Maria Theresia Czernin, 1793. Unsplash/ Pexels The Guerrilla girlsdid not believe that the unequal representation of women in art history was a coincidence. Photo by Mitro Hood. “When an institution decides to go in a direction in spite of limitations, whether it’s budgetary or otherwise, one often discovers that doors open and opportunities arise that allow you to build the collection that you want.”, But museums should also be wary of how the wealthy and powerful can dominate the art scene. By the fall of 2006—after two years, and substantial tinkering—there were 399 objects on view; 19 were by women, or 5 percent. “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. Photo by Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio. “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. 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. 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. “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. Portrait of Raina Lampkins-Fielder, Curator of Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership. 5). Ms. Gadsden said the museum is making a concerted effort to focus on art by women. 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. “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. (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.) According to a joint investigation by In Other Words and artnet News, a total of 260,470 works have entered the museums’ permanent collections since 2008.Only 29,247 were by women. Over the past decade, just 29,247 works by female artists were acquired by 26 top museums in the United States, out of 260,470 total works. “This should be the wake-up call. 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. Too often is noteworthiness defined by auction records and critical writing, which are pocked with blindspots. Courtesy of The Baltimore Museum of Art. 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. “If they were in a room with Jackson Pollock, everyone in the room would go to the Jackson Pollocks.”. 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. “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. “We’re not going in with a shopping list, but we want to have several landmark works and make sure we have a varied approach to the kinds of expressions of female-identifying artists.” She explained that curators of each department have examined holdings to identify key artists who could “create new narratives that we aren’t able to tell right now.” Curators then reach out to dealers to secure works. Women are often excluded from exhibitions within which one would think they would play major roles. At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 18% of the artists are female, 7% Asian, and 2% black or African-American. Limited-Edition Prints by Leading Artists. Photo by Mitro Hood. Museums with the highest percentage of women artists include MOCA (24.9%), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) (18.1%), and the … 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. The new analysis was by Artnet, an art market information company, and “In Other Words,” a weekly podcast and newsletter produced by Art Agency, Partners, an art advisory firm that was acquired by Sotheby’s. “Why, as a woman who has been working in this field for 20 years, is this shocking me so much?” said Nonie Gadsden, a senior curator at the museum. In 2018, that number soared to 288 works. 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. Of the roughly 5,800 female artists whose works were acquired, 190 women — or just 3 percent — were African-American. “A museum who might be very open to diversifying collections can then have a challenging time fitting [the art] into the overall accepted narrative.”. Among the museums that took part in the survey, smaller institutions tended to have made better progress toward gender parity, the researchers said. Maxwell Anderson added that museums often look to acquire “the same five or six artists” when attempting to diversify their collections. “But there’s that display and then the works go away—which means there’s less opportunity for scholarship and for these artists to have longevity or be seen in other institutions.”. (Only Ms. Kusama is living.). Only 4 percent of the art acquired by the museum between 2008 to 2018 was by women — 3,788 of 90,215 works. “People are having difficulty justifying to their acquisitions committee the relative value of an artist they are championing,” said Lampkins-Fielder. Artist … “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. Mary T. Smith, Untitled self-portrait, 1988. 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. The research does not differentiate between large and small exhibitions, leaving open the possibility that the climbing number is not necessarily an indicator of significant change. In Swiss art museums as a whole, only 26 percent of the ... and at that time there were hardly any female artists. (Most of the art was already part of their permanent collection.). At the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, only 4 percent of the art acquired between 2008 to 2018 was by women, or 3,788 out of 90,215 works acquired by the museum. At the Tate in Britain, “women artists represent 10 percent in the collection of British art” (Deepwell 67). “When an art museum deaccessions work, the proceeds go right back into the collection,” she said. 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. Through our work, we aim to improve gender inequity in the art world, righting the balance for women artists. And they should question how the established art-historical canon has influenced perceptions of artistic value. Courtesy of The Baltimore Museum of Art. The global market grew from $230 million to $595 million over that 10-year period, according to the data. Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Maroya), 1985. Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Photo by Juan Arce. “The perception of change was more than the reality,” said Julia Halperin, the executive editor of Artnet News and one of two lead authors on the report. Augusta Savage, Gamin, 1929. 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. 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. 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. Advocate for Women Artists . 46% of all artists and arts workers in the U.S. are women. At the end of March, BMA will announce its first round of acquisitions. 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 . Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum. Those top-earning female artists include Yayoi Kusama, Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O’Keeffe and Agnes Martin. In 2018, they collected 288 works by women. museums were staging women-themed exhibitions, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”. 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. First, art is not created in a vacuum. “The art world runs on hype,” said Maxwell Anderson, Souls Grown Deep’s president. Elizabeth Okie Paxton, “Sick a-Bed,” 1916, is one of the works by female artists acquired by Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. © Mary L. Bennett. That was the highest percentage of any museum in the study. “No museum is going to say, ‘Our fall program is majority male artists,’” she said. Mary L. Bennett, “Housetop”—Four-block variation, 1965. “[Collecting] is driven by fashion and fads, and it’s disappointing to the extreme,” Maxwell Anderson said. “We are trying to build a collection that tells a truthful history of American art,” Anderson said. In 2015, the arts advocate Kaleta A. Doolin established an acquisition fund at the Nasher Sculpture Center specifically for art by women. According to the researchers’ data set, the number of acquisitions of artwork by women peaked in 2009 at 3,462. Marie Watt, Skywalker/Skyscraper (Allegory), 2012. Courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. 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. The overall disparities in the number of female art museum directors and in their salaries are mostly driven by the largest museums. In doing this research, Ms. Burns and Ms. Halperin reasoned that some critics might argue that women are simply outnumbered by men in the fine art world. Museum directors, curators, conservators, and educators are, In 2018, Souls Grown Deep launched a grant program to place young scholars of color in paid internships at major American museums. 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. Learn more about our advocacy work and how you can take action. 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. In the past decade, only 11 percent of all work acquired by the country’s top museums was by women. Only 10% of works in The High Museum of Arts in Atlanta were made by Black artists. 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. 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. 50% of MFAs in the US are earned by women. Photo by Ana Bloom. Those power players who can make real, lasting impacts on gender parity in museums include trustees and patrons, whose tastes are gradually changing. Just 11% of all acquisitions and 14% of exhibitions at 26 prominent American museums over the past decade were of work by female artists. While Tate appears to have a 30% cap on the collection of female artists, its allocation of annual budget is even worse, with as little as 13% spent on works by female artists in recent years. “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. Installation view of “Zackary Drucker: Icons” at The Baltimore Museum of Art, 2020. Later she said she came to understand that these types of exhibitions could highlight overlooked artists whose important work was boxed out by dominant men. Irene Williams, Blocks and strips, 2003. Only 8 percent of the work that the Museum of Modern Art exhibits is by women. They estimate that 85 percent of artists represented in these collections are white and 87 percent are men. The study also highlights museums that significantly under- or over-performed in certain demographic categories. This statistic has been a key point in much of the media's coverage of this year's exhibition.. ... who is in the top 25 female artists collected by US museums, according to our data. But many are more inclined to take steps that are easily packaged into press releases—actions that are not sustained past a certain event, but earn good publicity. Those museums, which include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, have a mandate to collect across eras — not necessarily from certain demographics. Guerrilla Girls, You're Seeing Less than Half the Picture, 1989. 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 … “The shows for women were getting more attention, but the numbers actually weren’t changing.”. “But they would say, ‘Our program is majority female artists.’”. Yet even this figure was … 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. Of course, that’s far better than Catherine David’s edition, in 1997 (Fig. Now, the Baltimore Museum of Art is trying to change that in a big way -- by only purchasing works by women artists in 2020. “By putting the women out there, we can bring attention to them without the known names sucking the air out of the room,” she said. 2010 saw Eileen Cooper elected as the first ever woman 'Keeper of the Royal Academy'. According to the data that the researchers gathered through Artnet’s Price Database, acquisitions of women-made art stagnated even as the auction market for work by women more than doubled between 2008 and 2018. Since 2007, only 29 percent of the Whitney Museum's solo exhibitions were dedicated to women artists. Ms. Burns said that in recent years, with greater awareness of gender inequity in all fields, there had been a rush of press about art museums’ efforts to increase the representation of female artists. The foundation’s very existence and outreach efforts underscore the failures of museums to diversify their own staff and boards. 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. Over the past decade, there has been a sense in the art world that gender equity was on the horizon: Emerging female artists were landing high-profile solo shows, museums were staging women-themed exhibitions, grants were being awarded to boost female artists, and long-neglected artists were being given overdue recognition. Courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Dr. Constance E. Clayton. Every other museum had less than 3%. “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. According to the. 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. © Estate of Mary T. Smith. That museum, Ms. Burns pointed out, made an explicit commitment to increasing representation of female artists. 49% of artists collectively represented by 4 woman-owned/run Denver art galleries ( Walker Fine Art, Goodwin Fine Art, Sandra Phillips Gallery, Visions West Gallery) are women. The researchers also asked museums to report the gender parity in their exhibitions. “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.”. Analysis of gender, age, race, and ethnicity showed that 85% of artists in these museum collections are white, and 87% are men; the general U.S. population is 60.7% white non-hispanic and 50.8% female, according to recent census data. Installation view of “Women Take the Floor,” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “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. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts sold a painting by Edward Hopper to focus on acquiring works by women and other underrepresented artists. Brown, who died in 1990, was a figurative painter from Northern California. 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. 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 museums that provided data for the survey included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. According to the NMWA, work by women artists makes up only 3 to 5 percent of major permanent collections in the U.S. and Europe. 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). “We thought that would be enough money spent to acquire a number of works that can make a statement on our walls and add to our collection,” Naeem added, clarifying that there is no target amount of work. A large portion of that art has been works by women, including, In the face of tight financials, deaccessioning can be a strategic—though unpopular—resolution. Gaps in collections are ultimately produced not by budget limits, but by structural barriers to entry, inclusion, equity, and access. The philosopher Kant argued … The Hopper, “East Wind Over Weehawken,” sold for $36 million. And of that share, five female artists dominate the market, comprising nearly 41 percent of the total. But the problem isn't just about female artists having their work exhibited — it's also about women getting high-ranking jobs at galleries and museums. 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. 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. female director’s salary lags behind that of the average male director. The report, which included more than 40 interviews with curators, artists, collectors and dealers, suggests several reasons for the gender imbalance, including museum committees tasked with acquiring work that were often preoccupied with name recognition and wary of spending money on a female artist who didn’t have a recorded reputation for selling at auctions. Acquired by the country ’ s very existence and outreach efforts underscore the percentage of female artists in museums of to. 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