Tuesday, February 05, 2008

No Sign of Progress

Might as well begin with the obvious mea culpa: Our programing, despite normally being balanced, has been very lopsided so far this year. It improves with the next exhibition and moving forward. I'll note that even though I was aware of its slant, I arranged the exhibition schedule independent of gender. So after 4 solo exhibitions by men, we have our first solo exhibition by a woman coming up. It wasn't intentional...the the first 4 or the even the switch in the 5th...it's just how it happened. (I'm entering the witness protection program as soon as I post this, so don't look for me.)

Apparently, though, I'm not alone. Those masters of meta data at Chelsea Art Galleries [dot] com (who have recently had a very appealing face lift) have sifted through the text of gallery press releases and found some rather disturbing trends:
In a study of the language in more than 3,400 gallery press releases from 2006 and 2007, chelseaartgalleries.com found that women still are significantly underrepresented, and it appears to be getting worse.

In the press releases sent out by Chelsea galleries in 2006, the words "his" and "he" were 48% more common than "her" and "she". The following year, 2007, the gap had grown to 64%. The same trend holds for the more specific word combination "his/her work". In 2006 "his work" beat "her work" with 38%, in 2007 the difference was 56%.

Does 2008 promise to be better? With only 282 press releases to analyze, it's still too early to tell, but it doesn't look like an improvement - currently the gap between his/him and her/she is 78%.

But wait...it gets worse, separating out the bluer chip galleries (as measured by those who are invited to participate in Art Basel and Miami Art Basel), the study found the disparity only increases the further up the food chain you go:
We looked at some 1,000 press releases, and the gender gap is significantly larger for these [blue chip] galleries. In 2006, it was 93%, and in 2007 it was 152% (e.g. he/his was mentioned 2.5 times as often as she/her). The difference for the galleries that don't go to the Art Basel fairs (and usually represent younger artists), is still there, but smaller: In 2006 it was 33% and in 2007 it was 41%.
There's a fascinating chart with the study that indicates that whereas the word "art" was the most often found word among press releases in Chelsea in 2006, the word "his" ranked first in 2007. One could conclude from this that what's being sold in Chelsea is masculinity more so than art (OK, it's a stretch, but...). Clearly what's being shown more than anything else, though, are paintings. In 2006 the word "paintings" was the 14th most popular among the press releases studied, and in 2007 it was the 15th. No other medium even made the top 32.

What is there to do about the disparity though? I hate to open myself up as the proxy whipping post and suggest folks can beat up on me here for my part in it all, but I can't plead innocence either. I hope by posting this I make up a bit for the lopsided program this season. Things do get better next seaon, I swear.

Image at top: Jennifer Dalton, Art Guide (March/April, 2006), 2006, mixed media (map, colored pins, painted wooden frame), 9.5” x 10.5” x 1.25”

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86 Comments:

Anonymous J@simpleposie said...

"In 2006 the word "paintings" was the 14th most popular among the press released studied, and in 2007 it was the 15th. No other medium even made the top 32."

That stat is a classic. A CLASSIC.

2/05/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until women pull in comparable sales figures they won't be in the gallery as often as men are. This is a catch-22 because how can sales of women artists' work, the prices they can fetch, improve if they are being shown in the blue chip galleries or other galleries with the same frequency and with the same import as male artists?

2/05/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry that was filled with typos. Women don't fetch the same prices as men (on every level of the hierarchy) and they are not nearly as often as the men. Galleries are all about making money. With this dual bind I do not see how things can greatly improve for women in the current system. (Slight adjustments might happen of course but not major shifts)

2/05/2008 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I have some questions here, Ed. At the beginning of this post you apologize for your "lopsided" programming so far. And yet you say you scheduled "independent of gender".

Why should we take your word for this, but not assume the same thing for all those other galleries?

How can we tell you're not as biased as all the other gallerists in Chelsea? What's the criteria?

If your intention is to have a "balanced" program, are you choosing artists based on gender? Do you have a quota? If not, how do you maintain the balance?

Do you expect to extend your balance to cover all divisions such that your program is representative of the American population (i.e. 75 percent white, 12 percent black, 4 percent Asian, 10 percent homosexual male, 5 percent homosexual female, and so on)?

Do you think I'm baiting you?

2/05/2008 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Why should we take your word for this, but not assume the same thing for all those other galleries?

I do assume the same thing for all those other galleries. I've never once heard a gallerist express a preference for men over women artists, per se. If there are biases at work here, they're unstated or possibly even subconscious.

If your intention is to have a "balanced" program, are you choosing artists based on gender? Do you have a quota? If not, how do you maintain the balance?

My intention is merely to be aware of my choices. I won't insert an artist of one demographic whose work I don't like just to make a rainbow coalition. I do think it behooves me, however, to be very conscious of the demographics of the program. If that leads me to seek out the work by artists I wouldn't have otherwise, so long as I adhere to my standards, I think that's an OK way to proceed. I don't like the notion of quotas, even self-imposed ones. But I do like the idea of reminding everyone (including myself) how lopsided things are in the interest of keeping the consciousness level as high as possible.

Do you think I'm baiting you?

I don't care if you are. These are valid questions.

2/05/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the reasons for such disparity is the sheer demographics of collectors. Most collectors are male and are historically drawn to male-centric work and walk away when confronted with work that has anything to do with femininity and/or feminism. It's not a criticism, rather a reality. What needs to happen, is that affluenct women need to either start influencing decisions in accruing art for their family collections or just starting buying more art from women.

2/05/2008 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Thank you. I am baiting you, at least a little, but I do think they're valid questions. My feeling -- as you probably know or could figure out -- is that, on an individual level, one person at a time, this kind of thing works itself out over time. There will most likely be no point at which we'll (as a culture) be able to say "...and now there's no more sexism." If it's going to go away, it'll go away gradually, until one day schoolchildren will look back at times like ours and wonder what the fuck we were thinking. (Especially if they learn the history of Microsoft Vista.)

I do think the best way to make it go away is to just pay attention. So I like your answers. But your answers don't do much to make those statistics you quote look better. Try to imagine the enormous snort your lead-off apology would elicit from Edna.

2/05/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my brief stint working in a gallery what I observed among collectors is that the wife liked one work, the husband liked another and the couple either bought what the husband liked or they bought a piece they both found acceptable. Women with their own money bought whatever they wanted.

Given that grad schools are preponderantly female, it is odd that the ratio is so distorted in exhibition history.

While I certainly don't accuse Edward of this, misogyny is on the rise in our culture. Women can be and are ridiculed and abused routinely on tv/movies/music with no outrage. They are routinely the victims. The fact that men of any age are promoted to a higher percentage but women who are young and attractive tend to be promoted more actively than older women is also telling.

2/05/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Edna said...

No snort. At least Edward_ is aware of it.

Collectors buy what galleries show and believe in, male or female. It takes a long time for a pattern to emerge and the market to follow. Though it's ridiculous that this hasn't already happened, you can't force it by asking them to just buy some art made by women.

Of course blue chip galleries have worse numbers; they don't show many emerging artists, and the so-called "established" (lopsided process to begin with) artists are almost entirely male.

The reason for the gender gap is so complex. It is not a feminist issue; it is a human issue. It will take a slow, genuine shift of consciousness to fix it. It will take time.

2/05/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

If that leads me to seek out the work by artists I wouldn't have otherwise, so long as I adhere to my standards, I think that's an OK way to proceed.

My immediate first impression was almost the same as Chris's who initially framed it very well statistically.

I have no reason to believe you would intentionally decide to exclude any race Ed, and have no doubt you sincere when you says your gender slant was unintentional, curating shows must be a lot like D.J.'ng you wouldn't play a classical piece, after a 180 bpm acid house track, you just follow a flow. The flow of the Art world seems to have a white male beat. It poses the question, are the female, and racial diverse artist that are shown, those whose work play that beat?

My next question was is there a gallery devoted entirely to female artists? I thought I might of heard of one but can't think of any? A feminist art museum?

2/05/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

One of the things I thought growing up was that, as a species and as a culture, we were always improving. I thought that denial of sex, racism, sexism, pleasure, and all that were all always decreasing.

By the end of the 1980s I began to have inklings that I was wrong. Now, looking back, I realize I was hopelessly incorrect.

Just take movies. Back in the mid-1970s it looked like violence was being taken more seriously, sex and nudity were on the rise, cursing was gaining in popularity, auteurs were taking over the business, and last year's PG movies were this year's G movies. Somewhere along the line, though, the trends reversed. There are movies rated PG back in the 1980s that wouldn't be family fare today -- Doc Brown says, in Back to the Future, "You're gonna see some serious shit." My wife hears that and is, like, "Does my 10-year-old need to hear this?" If it were being made today, no way would the phrase "dick breath" be in E.T.

So misogyny may be on the rise. It's a wave and you have to ride it.

2/05/2008 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

But things do improve. A hundred years ago, being Eyetalian, neither me nor Joe G. would have been accepted in polite company. We still can't get elected President, but we've come a long way, paisan.

2/05/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Can't wait to see the exhibition! I saw Jennifer's work exhibited at your booth at Art Chicago with "How Do Artists Live?" and loved it. Look forward to dropping by. Happy Super Tuesday!

2/05/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

what's the gallery ownership split? Male/female that is - are there statistics on this? and does that shed any light on trends?

and if so much painting is being shown how come I almost never remember seeing any???

2/05/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan T. D. Neil said...

3 Things:

I'm on the Walter Benn Michaels "The Problem with Diversity" train on this one. All the talk about racial and sexual "identity" keeps us distracted from the cold hard facts of economic inequality.

Showing (or voting for) a female simply because she is one is structurally the same as not showing (or voting for) a female because she is one.

Women not to worry: A quick look at higher education enrollments, not to mention arts MA, MFA and PhD programs at most universities, elite and otherwise, show how the fairer sex will have the reigns in no time.

2/05/2008 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

if A: is true:
Collectors buy what galleries show and believe in, male or female.

then I would disagree with B:
It will take a slow, genuine shift of consciousness to fix it. It will take time.

If collectors buy whatever is in a gallery, then a concerted effort on the part of galleries would do the trick, easy Ed and other galleries could just decide to show a Rainbow Coalition of artists as he put it. Problem solved.

I don't believe A: is true it is just an attempt at shifting the blame to galleries, most of which I would think would show an Al Qaeda artist if it would sell, but I wouldn't put the blame on collectors, they buy what they like, or think is important. We could blame the critics for not reviewing female artists but they review what they like as well.
There's no front office in the art world to send out a memo instructing galleries, collectors, and critics to end gender disparity.
This discussion keeps coming up and at the end of it there's no real answers to why this is, I can only speculate it does represent something deeper in the collective social psyche that male artist are appealing to 70% more often than women.

2/05/2008 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

Shocking statistics, Ed.

Probably about 80 percent of art I own is by women (and if I only count contemporary work, the percentage is more like 90 percent). This isn't on purpose -- that's just whose work I tend to spark to.

2/05/2008 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

I was looking back over my own work recently and was surprised to learn that all of its creators were male.

2/05/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Great Caesar's ghost, Franklin, you're right! And a hundred percent of my pieces are by male artists! I must diversify!

Perhaps this guy can give me some pointers....

2/05/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

is there a gallery devoted entirely to female artists? I thought I might of heard of one but can't think of any? A feminist art museum?

National Museum of Women in the Arts

2/05/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

There's also The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. I'd say the name is a mouthful but I know real ladies spit, not swallow.

2/05/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

For the love of...clean it up Mr. Rywalt!

2/05/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

I've been doing my part to correct the situation by not showing in any Chelsea galleries.

2/05/2008 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

And no Blue Chips. Sorry Larry. Please stop calling.

2/05/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Admit it, Ed. You chuckled.

2/05/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about age disparity? I think that is almost worse than gender disparity, except in the blue chips, where they tend to show the more established (i.e. older) artists. Is there a breakdown of age of artists in the non blue chip galleries?

anono

2/05/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, how heterosexist of you. How about real men? Do they spit or swallow?

anono

2/05/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Women in key positions are not helping at all. Do the math. I have never been able to explained when I talk about it. Why don't they support other women?

You don't hear dealers talking about it but we all know that after 10 years the men's work is more valuable by far than any of the women's (with the same CV).

The record is worst outside the US. Even in some benefits they don't want it.

I said something about this here a while back.

2/05/2008 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the real question here is: Should a gallerist's roster be a microcosm of his subconscious personality i.e. a "private" curation, or should a roster be a more general selection to serve "the public"?
I mean, a gallery IS a private industry like a butcher shop or a clothing store. Is anyone outraged that the dress shop on the corner only sells dresses designed by white men? Not really.
I think the disparity sucks too, but it does seem like a natural outgrowth of people having a certain circle or interest that moves them to start a gallery. There are certain galleries run by women that show almost entirely women (not as many as the opposite, but it exists, nonetheless.) The representation numbers are most likely just following trends of who maintains power our society.
What's more atrocious is the disparity in the museum curating because a museum is most definitely a "public" space and they should have standards...

2/05/2008 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Ed, why isn't Pretty Lady on your blogroll?

Is it because you automatically discount everything that comes out of a Pretty Lady's mouth, or is it because you assume that a consciously and meticulously crafted entity which careens at whim among issues of relationships, politics, spirituality, religion, philosophy, etiquette, aesthetics, and metaphysics in a layered, subtle, nuanced, ironic, holistic, and archetypally feminine way couldn't possibly be categorized as Serious Art?

2/05/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I wouldn't say "nuanced," but otherwise...

just kidding :-)

grotesque but easily remedied oversight

2/05/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Johnathan says, "Women not to worry: A quick look at higher education enrollments, not to mention arts MA, MFA and PhD programs at most universities, elite and otherwise, show how the fairer sex will have the reigns in no time."

I don't think so. There have always been more women in art school (in earlier decades, probably because women weren't expected to go into the world and actually earn a living). There have always been more successful male artists. This says nothing about female versus male talent but about the opportunities that go from one generation of men to another.

For that reason I think it's imperative that we as artists and dealers think about the art we buy and the artists we refer (first, good for referring another artist; second, do the referrals include women?) This is crucial for women, and pretty damn important for men, too.

When I was curating a show last year, I considered a lot of good work by artists of both sexes. As is always the case, you have to whittle the numbers to get to a manageable-size group. I whittled out the artists whom experience has shown me to be late or difficult. I whittled to get work that furthered the themes, while at the same time was supported by the theme. Then I whittled for gender. I split it right down the middle. This means that some worthy female artists and some worthy male artists didn't get into my show, but I selected excellent work all around and I felt that I hadn't contributed to gender inequality. (I was also aware of ethnicity and age.) It was an exhibition that resonated with life and experience, and with beauty, which was the theme of the show. (Here, see for yourself: http://www.marciawoodgallery.com/luxe_calme/essay.html)

Re a women's gallery: New York City has several good cooperative galleries:
. A.I.R. Gallery, the first women's cooperative ever, as far as I know, still going strong after 30 years. Many of its original members have gone on to commercial gallery representation.
. SoHo 20, whose name reflects its original location and probably the number of original members. Both it and A.I.R. are 511 W. 25th Street.
. Ceres Gallery on 27th Street.
. In Chicago there's Woman Made Gallery, an enterprise that has given women around the country opportunities to show.
. "WACK" is opening up at PS 1 soon
. And I even heard that there was going to be a women's art fair.

These single-gender enterprises are tricky. One the one hand, there's a wonderful community to be found within them, and there's perhaps a greater opportunity to show. On the other hand, you don't want to be ghettoized.

Thanks, Ed, for opening this discussion.

2/05/2008 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Grotesque, indeed.

At the risk of pounding my point in with a sledgehammer--that's the problem. Women aren't men. We don't work like men, we don't create like men, we don't use our brains like men. And when the standards of categorization and even perception have been established from a rigidly linear and stratified perspective, women aren't going to be represented equally. We can try to act like men, and achieve a limited amount of sucess at an enormous price, but the full range of what we contribute to the world and to art will never be recognized.

Take a look again at the work of Lee Bontecou. I am sure you would agree that this is a female artist who has achieved truly extraordinary things. I have the catalog of her retrospective in my lap. From her artist statement:

Since my early years until now, the natural world and its visual wonders and horrors--man-made devices with their mind-boggling engineering feats and destructive abominations, elusive human nature and its multiple ramifications from the sublime to unbelieveable abhorrences--to me are all one. It is in the spirit of this feeling that the primary influences on my work have occurred.

Emphasis mine. I am largely laughed at and dismissed in the Art World when I get all mystical, declaring that 'all is one' and other absurdities. Lee Bontecou walked away from the Art World and produced some of the most astonishing art I've ever seen. She's my role model.

2/05/2008 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

And yes, Joanne, I was also about to point out to Jonathan that the only result of women getting advanced degrees in large numbers is a pandemic devaluation of said degrees.

2/05/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcia wood gallery

2/05/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

you're conflating things here Pretty Lady.

I said the oversight was grotesque in earnest, but I was only joking about the reason...there's no connection to the fact that you're female and your blog was not already on the blog roll. Count the number of women bloggers with links and you'll see there's no significant disparity there, and the choices are unrelated to the art the bloggers in question may make, how spiritual they are, or how they use their brain in such...but rather merely a serendipitous timing of my finding their blog, being able to add a link to mine, etc. etc.

2/05/2008 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Pretty lady said...
Lee Bontecou walked away from the Art world and produced some of the most astonishing art I've ever seen. She's my role model.

So did Agnes Martin, and she is one of mine.

It's really just supposed to be about the "art work".

2/05/2008 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

MEN OWN THE GALLERIES. MEN RUN THE MUSEUMS. MEN EDIT HISTORY BOOKS. MEN ARE MORE RESPECTED ART CRITICS (Yes, even in NYC). Argh. Hello.

Women's galleries are not the answer. It is, like Joanne says, ghettoization. No one takes them seriously anyway and they usually suck (20 lame female artists will get all upset about that comment, but it's true).

Men refer each other for galleries and shows and it works. When women try to support each other, they get ridiculed for it. For some reason, it's acceptable for men to help each other out, and no one cries nepotism, but there's a double standard for women. Pajama party, quilting bee, BFF, etc.

I can only speculate it does represent something deeper in the collective social psyche that male artist are appealing to 70% more often than women.

Wha?

It has nothing to do with who "appeals" to people. It has to do with one gender being TRUSTED over another. That's what will take time to undo.

2/05/2008 05:13:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Oh, geez. I have so much to say about this that I'm just going to write a post about it tomorrow on SELLOUT.

If I can sum up what I think in a few words:

There are a ton of competent women cooks--way more women cook than men. And yet a chef is a very male thing to be. It's still kinda hard to be a woman chef.

Nobody can change that by bringing cooks into the kitchen. The way to change that is to make more women think like chefs. I think that women have a lot to say about whether or not they, as individuals, are in Chelsea. You just have to go ahead and do things that men tend to find easier than women do, like stick out, take chances, etc.

At least art's easy. In any other profession, you'd have to figure out how to act like a man without actually acting like a man, and without ever coming off like a bitch. In this crazy business, you at least have some latitude. You can go ahead and scare people or seem intense Artists are supposed to be freaks anyway.

2/05/2008 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

there's no connection to the fact that you're female and your blog was not already on the blog roll.

No, it's that I think there's a connection to the fact that I'm feminine and my blog somehow fails to appear on quite a number of 'art blog' blogrolls, even after I've specifically requested for it to be there.

Pretty Lady doesn't 'blog about art' in the sense that she regularly reviews shows, or discusses issues of interest only to the Art World cognoscenti. She is art. She is art which addresses an enormous range of issues other than art.

2/05/2008 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

is part of her art over-thinking the relationship between blog roll links and her femininity? I discuss things other than art here, as well, as do other links in my blogroll...it was an oversight...nothing more, nothing less.

2/05/2008 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Do you feel untrusted Edna?

2/05/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Nepotism is the showing of favoritism toward relatives, based upon that relationship, rather than on an objective evaluation of ability or suitability. For instance, offering employment to a relative, despite the fact that there are others who are better qualified and willing to perform the job, would be considered nepotism. The word nepotism is from the Latin word 'nepos', meaning "nephew" or "grandchild".

2/05/2008 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Yes.

Men trust other men. Men "get" other men. Men are impressed by (and often duped by) other men's ideas.

Conversely, men in positions of power do not trust women when it comes to the intellectual magnitude of our work. They are suspicious, and deep down, they don't think we have as much to offer.

2/05/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

You just have to go ahead and do things that men tend to find easier than women do, like stick out, take chances, etc.

This is quite true up to a point, Deborah--one of our biggest handicaps as a gender is that so many of us were brought up to 'be good girls, work hard, follow the rules and you'll be rewarded.' At least, I was brought up that way. Talk about a recipe for rank exploitation.

However, women who stick out are often either hammered down or rendered completely invisible. It's one thing when a guy walks into the room and says, "Hi, I'm an artist" and people instantly take him seriously. When a woman does the same, the response is likely to be, "Oh, how nice. So what do you do for a living?"

You have to stick out in a committed way for a long, long time, and then explain in great detail the intention behind your sticking out.

My family and close friends finally started believing me after I'd been a committed artist for a decade, complete with getting two art degrees, founding an artspace, showing regularly, refusing to consider living anywhere without a studio, and making art full time.

2/05/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Oh please, Mr. Dick-tionary. Nepotism has been used to describe favoritism in the art world for, like, ever.

2/05/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Actually, Edna, I think you're dead wrong. I think men trust us implicitly. They trust us not to make a fuss when they take credit for our ideas, and exploit our labor. They trust us to build up their egos. They trust us not to compete with them directly, but to be good girls, get our MFAs, send in our slide packets, and accept 'no' for an answer when these slides are deposited in the trash can unlooked-at. They trust us to believe them when they offer rational excuses for not taking us seriously.

Women trust us too, in fact.

2/05/2008 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

and it is one of many examples of words being mis-used in art essays.

using words correctly help to make an effective argument.

2/05/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

And "misused" shouldn't be hyphenated, but who fucking cares?

You know what I meant, pretty lady - they don't trust us intellectually.

2/05/2008 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

I thought you meant Larry Gagosian was giving his third rate artist cousin a show over more talented women.

Male or Female you have to earn trust.

2/05/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

HA HA!

Did Jason Rhoades earn our trust by stealing Islamic imagery and pairing it with neon words like "Beef Curtains?"

Did Dash Snow earn our trust by shitting and doing drugs with his friends in piles of newspaper?

Did Nate Lowman earn our trust by cutting up Xeroxes like a kindergartener and dating Mary-Kate Olsen?

2/05/2008 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

If you are equating trust with commercial success then apparently so.

2/05/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous McFawn said...

Pretty Lady et al-

Interesting observation about female art-blogging. I remember a conversation I had with a contributor to a popular art blog. He was talking about how there were few women who commented (me being one of them). I said "do you think people know I'm a woman?” Since I go by just “McFawn” I wondered how people would know (and I thought the muscularity of my prose might throw them off—I love when people refer to “muscular” writing) He responded that of course everyone could tell. When I asked him to articulate how they knew, he just said something like “women write differently.” How so, I wonder?

2/05/2008 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Anono sez:
Chris, how heterosexist of you. How about real men? Do they spit or swallow?

Personally I swallow. But that's just me.

2/05/2008 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

McFawn sounds masculine to me. Not your prose, just the name. I don't know why. It's almost, but not quite, McLovin.

2/05/2008 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Edna sez:
MEN OWN THE GALLERIES. MEN RUN THE MUSEUMS. MEN EDIT HISTORY BOOKS. MEN ARE MORE RESPECTED ART CRITICS.

By the way, Edna, I'm glad to see you're not dead.

You could just as easily say (and guess what writer I'm paraphrasing!) "MEN START THE WARS. MEN ARE THE SERIAL KILLERS. MEN INVENT THE WEAPONS."

All true. But why? Where are the female Jack the Rippers? Is it because men don't trust women to be mass murderers? Is there something specifically wrong with the male of the species?

I just kind of wonder.

2/05/2008 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Edna's back...

2/05/2008 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

What a thread!

I share PL's and Edna's righteous indignation, but I want to comment on this quote by Edna:
MEN OWN THE GALLERIES. MEN RUN THE MUSEUMS. MEN EDIT HISTORY BOOKS. MEN ARE MORE RESPECTED ART CRITICS.

Her hyperbole makes a point. But beyond the hyperbole, there are a lot of women who own galleries and hold high curatorial positions and edit art magazines (and write criticism, teach art history, etc.). They need to think outside the box of business-as-usual, too.

Here's an example: I know a female art historian who has made a career of writing about famous men. Yes, it was a smart way to get recognition in her field. So now that she has it, why isn't she using some of that considerable power to write about women who are doing good work?

And how about the female dealer whose roster is mostly men? I'm not sure whether it's queen-bee syndrome, or mama-hen-ism, but something's wrong with that picture.

I know this sounds corny as hell, but on your way up, pull some people along with you--women included. Share, refer, include. You may find that sometimes instead of doing the pulling you are being pushed from behind.

Anonymous 4:54, thanks for making the gallery link for me. I never did figure out to do that in a comment.

2/05/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

...there are a lot of women who own galleries and hold high curatorial positions and edit art magazines.

A lot? Are you sure about that? They're a tiny percentage of the whole.

Mr. Dick-tionary, commercial success is a by-product of trust.

2/05/2008 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Where are the female Jack the Rippers? Is it because men don't trust women to be mass murderers?

Men are disproportionately angrier and less confident, fostered by our patriarchy's deep-seated belief that men are stronger and more capable. Women tend to conceal their anger because they suffer more social consequences for expressing it.

Is there something specifically wrong with the male of the species?

Yes, many things, but not every man should be held responsible. Some are innocent.

2/05/2008 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

I have the mastheads of Art in America and Art News in front of me. They're full of women at the top of the list. Take a look.

2/05/2008 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Edna, Joanne is right. There are a significant number of female dealers, curators, critics, and arts administrators, and a lot of them tend to disproportionately favor male artists, even more than male dealers and curators do.

I have personally received much more practical support from male dealers, curators, professors and arts administrators than female ones. And not all of them hit on me, either!

For some reason it seems that women who feel themselves to be in a tenuous position of power in a male-dominated world regard other women as a threat. Fancy that.

2/05/2008 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

I remember way back when I was a pup and the Guerrilla Girls ape suits still had that fresh off the rack smell, the same discourse led to the same points id est female owned galleries show more male artists, Paula Cooper and Mary Boone came under scrutiny, twenty years later ask them why they haven't improved and I'm sure you'll get a better idea about the issue.

A lot? Are you sure about that? They're a tiny percentage of the whole.

does anyone know any statistics, because I have heard more to back up Joanne's position.

A while back on Anaba blog martin looked up what % of women Roberta Smith and Jerry Saltz reviewed after JS did his annual bitch-fest about this issue, their reviews reflected the same male preference, almost statically equal to the disparity in shows, JS did fair a little better.

So it must be accountable to something much deeper than Sexism.

2/05/2008 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Tally up female gallery owners, museum curators, and powerful critics - you will see that the percentage of women is much, much lower than men. Look at the well-respected magazines, too. Sorry, but ArtNews doesn't count in the real world, and Art in America is marginal at best.

Of the 46 reviews (reviews, not major articles) in this month's Artforum, 18 are by women. Of the 44 individual artists reviewed, only 10 are women.

2/05/2008 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Joseph, women can be sexist too.

Actually, I think it's hardwired into our brains. For millennia, we have had to be careful what we say to the strong young man with the big stick, or else get our heads whacked off.

Then came Jesus Christ, a strong young man who told us that getting our heads whacked off didn't matter one bit, we'd live forever anyway.

So we're still looking for either Alexander the Great or Jesus to lift us up.

2/05/2008 07:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey joseph, thanks for the mention. here are those posts -

six months of roberta smith -

http://anaba.blogspot.com/2007/11/data-study-stars-and-garters.html

art candy and jerry saltz -

http://anaba.blogspot.com/2007/11/data-art-candy-study.html

martin

2/05/2008 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Joanne Mattera said...
Then I whittled for gender. I split it right down the middle. This means that some worthy female artists as well as some worthy male artists didn't get into my show.

I was just wondering, if you hadn't split it right down the middle, do you think there would have been more female or male artists in the show? I know it sounds like a loaded question, but I don't intend it that way.

2/05/2008 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Think of the cockiest successful (or unsuccesful) male artist you can think of, and then try to imagine a woman acting that way... full of swagger, confidence and bravado, telling everyone who will listen that they are the best artist in New York.

I think Ed did a post about the benefit of having that type of personality a while back.

Have you ever heard a female artist refer to herself in the third person, a la Picasso or Dali?

This discussion is not unrelated to the discussion about how people respond to Hillary Clinton when she acts like a male politician.

2/05/2008 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Actually, I think it's hardwired into our brains. For millennia, we have had to be careful what we say to the strong young man with the big stick, or else get our heads whacked off.

That applies across gender lines, although today the whack would be being fired.

I believe Buddha would say, you have, within you, the power to lift yourself up.

2/05/2008 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Thank you, Kate, for connecting the dots to Hillary Clinton. If she cries, she's being manipulative. If she's forceful, she's acting like a man. If she loses, it's because she's a bitch. If she wins it's because of her husband.

To respond to Bill's question about my curating: "I was just wondering, if you hadn't split it right down the middle, do you think there would have been more female or male artists in the show? I know it sounds like a loaded question, but I don't intend it that way."

Honestly, I could have put together an all-male show or an all-female show, and each would have looked great--50% different from the one I did put together, but not so different that you wouldn't have recognized the premise. My point, which I know you get, is that I wanted to approach the project in a conscious way. Part of racism/sexism/ageism/any-ism, at least among rational and intelligent people, is that it continues because not enough is done consciously to alter the status quo.

2/05/2008 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Yeah, keep your chins up, ladies! If evolution is any indication, the rest of the world should mirror our inner confidence in approximately 14 million years!

2/05/2008 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

oh please, crying on demand is pathetic any way you slice it. Go Nuts!!!!

2/05/2008 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

sorry to hear such a bleek prediction on equality.

Well guys I guess it's up to us for another 14 million years. Hang in there.

2/05/2008 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Joanne sez:
Thank you, Kate, for connecting the dots to Hillary Clinton. If she cries, she's being manipulative. If she's forceful, she's acting like a man. If she loses, it's because she's a bitch. If she wins it's because of her husband.

Because everyone is nice to male politicians. Like Howard Dean. One unguarded genuine moment and floosh! He's down the drain. Or the hatchet job done on John Kerry -- yeah, the media was real tender with him. Kid gloves. The guy's a fucking war hero and they torpedo him like he's Ho Chi Minh himself.

How about we say that politicians get the shit kicked out of them whether they're male or female, but Hillary fans like to claim it's because she's a woman -- and not because she has no convictions of her own, no scruples, and all the charisma of a shrew with athlete's foot.

...it continues because not enough is done consciously to alter the status quo.

Aha. So what you did was perfectly fair to the males (and females) who might have been, perhaps, a shade better artists, but who were just over the to the side of your arbitrary straight-down-the-middle dividing line? Why not curate a show alphabetically by last name, or by height or weight? I mean, if you're going to randomly choose one particular having nothing to do with the art, you could curate a show based on the distance between the artist's eyes.

If you're going to say art (or life) is unfair, then I fail to see why anyone should complain that women are underrepresented. Because, hey, life's unfair. If you're going to claim that it was fair to exclude certain artists based on gender -- "We already have enough men, thank you" -- I'd really like to hear that argument.

2/05/2008 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Chris I don't want to sound off here but Mongoloid traits (eyes wide apart)are no laughing matter, and as someone who has been dressed down for claiming to be "Jewish" I think you might want to examine your language.

Curate a show arounf Ikea furniture design. It would at least problematize what it means to be Swedish.

2/05/2008 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

edna said:
"Yeah, keep your chins up, ladies! If evolution is any indication, the rest of the world should mirror our inner confidence in approximately 14 million years!"
What if we all become "young earth" creationists - then will it only take a few thousand years?

Have you ever heard a female artist refer to herself in the third person, a la Picasso or Dali?

Pretty Lady always refers to herself in the third person on her blog.

anono

2/05/2008 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey PL, thanks for the mention.

-Jesus

ps I love you

2/05/2008 11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're most welcome.

data study stars and garters

martin sorry the second url is a dud.

michael

2/05/2008 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Pretty Lady always refers to herself in the third person on her blog.

Yes, and she takes a great deal of flak for it. ;-)

2/06/2008 12:29:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

I responded to this topic today on SELLOUT

2/06/2008 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Pretty Lady always refers to herself in the third person on her blog.

I actually find it pretty funny, PL. A good choice. Second person would be a little too unsettling.

2/06/2008 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger christopherlee said...

To have this kind of conversation you have to accept that we are talking in gross generalities and painting with a broad brush. Art making in general at the top is mostly a "male" (albeit effeminate male) adventure. It's a lifestyle that almost forgoes the stability and comfort that the middle class female in conditioned to, and dramaturgically speaking we want to see the romantic hero who wrestles with poverty , drug abuse and alcohol to create works of genius. The average woman can't maintain a studio in a seedy part of town without sending her family and friends into a frenzy...

2/08/2008 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

christopherlee, WTF?

"It's a lifestyle that almost forgoes the stability and comfort that the middle class female in conditioned to"??

Yeah, anyone, male or female, who has grown up middle class better be prepared for a dip in their standard of living in order to be an artist.

"The average woman can't maintain a studio in a seedy part of town without sending her family and friends into a frenzy..."

The average woman (or man) is not an artist. An artist is someone who sets her own priorities, and conforming to the ideas of friends, family and society about how to live her life are not high on the list. What you say is true for both genders, so your take on it seems more than a bit sexist.

Oriane

ps sorry if this doubleposts; the first one disappeared.

2/08/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger christopherlee said...

I'm just trying to make the point that some of the model elements of the art lifestyle "skew" toward the masculine "broad-ly" speaking ;)

2/08/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/10/2008 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

and on that charming note, this thread is done.

you can carry on like that over at Anonymous Female Artist, folks...

e_

2/11/2008 08:50:00 AM  

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