Do you know that the average female artist earns 10%-30% of what a male artist of comparable standing earns for selling comparable art? The Economist Magazine says it all in its recent article The price of being female http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2012/05/post-war-artists-auction. In an artnet list of the top ten most expensive post-war artists at auction we find the sculpture Spider by Louise Bourgeois selling for over $10 million. Sounds great, right? Sure, until we compare it to the Orange, Red, Yellow painting by Mark Rothko which sells for over $86 million! And so it goes.
And get this: it’s widely known that when artists submit work for jurying in a “blind entry” without revealing their identity, the results are usually 50% or more female. But just add a name or sex to that entry and then we are back down to below 30%. See Eleanor Bader‘s recent article in Truth-Out Magazine http://truth-out.org/news/item/8971-women-artists-still-face-discrimination
Need more convincing? Take a look at the web site listing artists currently being shown at Gagosian Gallery http://www.gagosian.com/artists. You’ll find 25 artists, 22 male, 3 female. How about sister gallery owners like Mary Boone Gallery? Out of Boone’s stable of 30 artists, 25 are male, 5 female http://www.maryboonegallery.com/artists.html.
Respected galleries with other than top-heavy representation for male artists are the exception. That’s why women and men should support galleries like Flomenhaft Gallery, an example of diversity with a stable of 17 artists, 6 male, 11 female http://flomenhaftgallery.com/flomenhaft_gallery_artists.php.
Women and men who care about inequity in any field must lend their support to the many female artists struggling to stay alive in this cauldron of bias existing in today’s culture?
Here are some suggestions:
1. For those that can afford to buy art: buy art from galleries like Flomenhaft, where female artists are supported. (Full disclosure: my own exhibition, The Fluidity of Gender, is on view at Flomenhaft until June 23rd http://conta.cc/KZ09JK.)
2. For those that can afford to contribute money: make a donation today to support non-profits like my Have Art: Will Travel! https://www.haveartwilltravel.org/ or purchase a Woman of Couragefine-art printin which 20% goes directly to the appropriate women’s charitable group https://www.haveartwilltravel.org/?page_id=1212
3. For those employed, look to your places of employment, especially those of you who are academics, to help get female artists in exhibitions at universities and institutions around the country.
4. For those of you who own businesses or foundations, help women get grants, honors and awards for their achievements.
5. Make contact with venues, or friends and colleagues who know of venues, that might bring female artists to lecture.
6. Use social media to spread the word of a female artist you want to support. If you are a twitter maven, use it on behalf of women artists.
7. Use your positions as Art Historians, Curators, Teachers, Critics, Writers, Corporate Heads and Lovers-of-Art to help promote female artists.
Thank you for giving this thought.