Why "Women In Art" As the Show Title?

Why Women In Art? 

When I looked at my marketing guidelines and calendar and saw that daunting live FB Gallery show listed as a task, I was both excited and nervous. I’ve spent lots of time on livestreams so I’m not necessarily nervous about being on them, but selling has always been a tough thing for me. Actually asking for money for my art. Why is that? 

Anyway… with some of the lessons learned in the marketing efforts during my pivot to online sales and marketing, I thought combining social media forces with other artists would be beneficial to all of us involved. I’ll bring my social media followers to see your art if you bring yours to see mine. So I posed the question in the FB group and almost immediately got responses from four other women. Cool. 

Images of promotion and ideas ran through my head, but first, what to call the show. The only real thing we all had in common was the fact that we were women. We all lived in different states across the US.  

I also need to add that, at the time of the show, I was (and still are) in the launch process for www.imaginedspaces.com, where I  build 3d virtual galleries that could be posted on a website and ‘walked’ through. So why not build a gallery for this show and work out some of the kinks. 

Let’s also go back to the part where I hate asking for money.
I found a gentleman who wanted to dovetail my virtual gallery into a project he was working on… ok. Started a demo gallery show for the group and there were things like lighting and movement  that needed fine-tuning in the gallery  before he could start promoting it so the demo show was put on hold. 

Meanwhile, back on the set of Women In Art
So I did all kinds of photoshop magic and spreadsheet organization to keep all five of us on track to launch this show… how were we going to do a live FB and have it stream across all of our channels, what message were we going to have, how much time, what order, how. Nevertheless, it did get done and just a couple of days before the FB live was scheduled. I got a call from the gentlemen mentioned earlier. He basically asked what I thought I was doing?

He actually told me what a big mistake it was to name the show “Women in Art.”

That we were excluding an entire gender. How could we expect to make sales? That the main reason people would be coming to the show would be to see five pretty ladies. Ok... misogynistic much? He thought that my doing this would hurt my chances of ever selling this 3d virtual gallery product to galleries or other artists.  

Here’s the reason why we did it… 

Women responded to my call to join me to do a show and being female artists is what we had in common. But as an afterthought, I thought how powerful it was that with technology, 5 female artists, across 4 time zones, could rally together and pull this off. (We even had pieces sold before the show even started.)  

When this gentlemen said all the things he did, I recalled a fact that I had heard that women artists are paid less for their artwork than men. I thought that alone was a good enough reason to have a show featuring just women. I didn’t start out with a desire to exclude men, but maybe now I do, if for nothing more than to give women a chance to be seen and heard. 

After the show launched, I decided to do this article, not sure exactly where it would land and what I would say, but I went to research this topic in an effort  to help promote the show... I found out some appalling facts. 

Did you know that  

The National Endowment for the Arts stated that 

“Nearly half (45.8%) of visual artists in the United States are women; on average, they earn 74¢ for every dollar made by male artists.” 

and that if you’re my age, it gets works and drops to 66¢, also according to the same article

Out of all the living artists represented by galleries throughout Europe and North America, what do you think the percentage of women are?

The answer is only 13.7%!

according to artnet News in "The 4 Glass Ceilings: How Women Artists Get Stiffed at Every Stage of Their Careers,"

Museums aren’t representing us much better either. Which kinda makes sense since women weren’t even allowed to take up studying art until after 1870 (artsy) but according to the Public Library of Science in an article entitled “Diversity of Artists in Major US Musemus” it showed that in 18 prominent US art museums that what they represented was 

87% male and 85% white.  

I haven’t had much luck with galleries, no wonder. So I started doing art festivals just before COVID-19 hit. I didn’t realize this but many of the faces I see surrounding me are male. According to The Global Art Market Report 2019 (Art Base/UBS) 

“Just 24% of the 27,000 artists shown at art fairs in 2018 were women. Art fair sales that year totaled $16.5 billion.”  The Global Art Market Report 2019 (Art Base/UBS) 

And with all those facts swimming around in your head  

“it is clear that the art market overwhelmingly finds greater value in work produced by men than that made by women. “ 

Female artists represent just 2% market

Remember back last October, there was a Banksy painting that started to shred itself and it made the news. What I didn’t realize was that, at that very moment, Jenny Saville’s 1992 painting Propped sold for a record amount for a living female artist at auction. The focus shifted to Banksy and completely overshadowed the achievement that this artist had made. But even though she had made auction records for a living female artist, it is completely dwarfed by Jeff Koon’s piece Rabbit (1986) that sold for $91.1 million last May at Christies

I could go on and on, so here are some charts and quotes...

Courtesy of artnet News and In Other Words at Art Agency, Partners. 

Even though galleries profess to promote female artists as heavily as they do male, the numbers just aren't showing it. Artist Micol Hebron, who has tracked the representation of women on gallery rosters since 2013, points out that many galleries that profess to promote equality still fall short: “A 65-35 ratio is repeated over and over—that’s still almost twice as many men as women,” she says. 

Courtesy of artnet News and In Other Words at Art Agency, Partners 

There is a 47.6% discount for women’s art at auction. Adams, et al., “Is Gender in the Eye of the Beholder?” 

There are no women in the top 0.03% of the auction market, where 41% of the profit is concentrated. Overall, 96% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists. Bocart et al., “Glass Ceilings in the Art Market” 

So yeah… Women In Art. 

Who's up for round 2?