In just about every single literature class I took in college, we read these really important novels of the “Western Cannon”, aka stoic classics solely by dead white guys. Sometimes a professor would sneak in some Kate Chopin or Edith Wharton, but that was pretty much a rarity. At least now, women writers are getting more recognition; Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer for her novel The Goon Squad. No one can seem to put down Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Female comedians like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig are essentially running the world, and the music scene is just as saturated with powerful female artists like Beyoncé and Adele, who promote feminism and girl power.
However, in the art world, social progress seems to be lacking. Influential female artists are being left behind while men soak up most of the spotlight. Gemma Rolls-Bentley, an independent curator wanted to find out exactly how many female artists were featured in the top 100 auction sales; to her dismay, she discovered that there wasn’t a single female artist on that list.
Some more investigating was done and it was discovered that there is an alarmingly low proportion of public art created by women. According to the Guardian, “In east London, of 43 public works of art, 14% were created by women. In Westminster and the City of London, of 386 public works of art, the proportion created by women is just 8%” Even more devastating, is that, “it’s often estimated that only 5% of the work featured in major permanent collections worldwide is by women.”
The imbalance is especially frustrating, because women make up the majority of the art students; over the last few decades, more and more women have been attending art school. But why is this artistic genre still dominated by men? There are so many talented female artists that simply cannot compete with the “boys club” due to a number of reasons: cultural expectations, gender inequality, and perhaps a lack of respect and knowledge. We must start tearing down this patriarchal wall and showcasing more art from women. Because there is so much out there that is not being appreciated or valued as much as it should be. The slideshow includes my top pics by some amazing and truly talented, innovative ladies.
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