The Kick-Ass Artist Calling Out the Art World's Gender Problem
A little over a year ago, I wrote about the jarring under-representation of women in the art field. The numbers were astonishing then, and they are astonishing still. According to Art Net, the ratio of male artists to female artists is 70/30 in LA, and the numbers are even more disproportionate when it comes to artwork featured in major galleries. At New York’s Sperone Westwater gallery, for example, 91 percent of the artwork is by men, while only nine percent is by women, according to The Art Newspaper. And that’s just one of dozens around the country with a gender imbalance problem. Yeah, it’s depressing.
However, visual measures are being taken to call attention to this stark inequality. Micol Hebron, a feminist artist, is shedding light on the issue in a major way. Her project, Gallery Tally, encourages artists to create visual representations of the disparate ratio of male to female artists in specific galleries and museums around the country. It’s been so successful, Hebron has started reaching out for contributions from around the world: New York, Miami, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and more.
The posters are awesome. Since they’re designed by all kinds of different artists, their angles are unique, and while this movement unites female artists, it also highlights their aesthetic idiosyncrasies. Some of these posters are funny, while others are more serious, referencing Guerrilla Girl campaigns. The project in its entirety is not only valuable for the art world, but for women across the board. Here are some of the amazing works:
It’s no secret that women are vastly under-represented in many fields. Only 27 percent of women hold computer science jobs, according to Commerce.gov. A statistic from the ESA states that only one in seven engineers are female. And let’s not get into all the other industries where women are still vastly under-represented, including film, journalism, music, and radio. The beauty and ingenuity of Hebron’s project, is that it addresses the effects of—and reactions to—gender inequality in the work place.
Right now with Gallery Tally, Hebron hopes to let the art speak for itself and act as a confrontational vessel. She told The Art Newspaperthat she plans to compile a book of the posters, and may start “tracking numbers” for artists of color. Her goal? “To effect a shift so that the art we see in galleries is more proportionate to the population at large,” she explained in an interview with the newspaper. “My goal was to put out irrefutable data so that the art world had to respond, one way or another.”