Saturday, June 3, 2017

THOUGHTS ON WOMEN IN THE ARTS


In reference to the works I posted from my visit to The Broad, a comment was made questioning "Why are they all men?". Good question. The works posted were by artists I have enjoyed and/or studied in college and beyond and they are all by men. A visit to The Broad's website and a search under the collection link will show they have a good selection of works by women. 

With a background in Art History, I can name quite a few women artists. However, when I asked some people without an art background how many they could name the list came up short (Georgia O'Keefe and Mary Cassatt topped the list and pretty much ended it) and they did not recognize at least three quarters of the names I mentioned.


I love looking at art whether done by a man or a woman. I have juried art into shows by both men and women and have never known before hand whether the work was done by a man or a woman. I am interested in the art. Period. I have been in all women shows and have been one of few women in shows.

I find myself questioning all women shows at times. If men are at the top of the art world, shouldn't we be working toward showing our work beside theirs? If there is one thing I've learned from my husband, national rifle champion in 1991, multiple medal winner and coach of the U.S. team for eight years, it is to look toward those in front of you, watch and learn from them be it man or woman.


Art should be an even playing field, but is it? The upper end of the art world has been moving slowly toward including more women in high end galleries and museum collections. At that level, art is a financial issue. Artists who are well-known tend to lead to large ticket sales. Ticket sales pay the bills. Will people go see women artists if, from my experience, they can't even name a handful of them?


If women's artwork is to get the recognition it deserves it needs to be supported and promoted. Museums need to be aware people are interested in women artists. Artwork by women needs to be purchased by top collectors. Women artists need resources to get their art out there.




So what can we do to help those women near the top of the art world so that they can pave the way for others? 

1.  Study work by current top women artists. Choose a few you really like and write them or go to one of their exhibits. Tell them how you relate to their work. Encourage them.
2.  Go to exhibits by women artists.
2.  Stop at the museum desk and ask about female artists. Are there any plans for solo exhibits of women artists in the future.
3.  Write to galleries after a solo exhibit by a woman artist or after seeing individual works by women.
4.  Write to magazines who have articles on women artists. Make sure you focus on the work, not just the artist being female.

"Shadow Weave: Chiral Fret Wave" by Tauba Auerbach

A woven canvas work by Tauba Auerbach photographed during our visit to The Broad.

I would like to thank the writer of last week's comment. 

2 comments:

  1. I don't necessarily select an artist by gender, your post just struck a cord with me. I would just like the playing field to be level.

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    1. Agreed, Susan. I think the playing field is fairly level at the local and mid levels. It is at the high end where we see so few solo shows by women and I think we ask "why?" It may become more level as women achieve higher positions in museums and high-end galleries.

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