From Renaissance to Modern Art and from small museums to Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, how many female artists can you name in 1 minute? It doesn’t make sense as a question at first and one can hardly name more than 5, right? If the question were to name male artists it would have been easier.
If you know Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, but not Nelli, Kahlo, Balshaw, is not something to be ashamed of. Nelli, for example, completely vanished of any Reinassance history book for not being too promotions as other male figures were. Kahlo couldn’t self-promote herself so her husband helped her for a small period of time because females weren’t allowed to take part in art movements at that time.
The imbalance of male and female figures in art is always systematic. The Guardian shows that 74.8% of the exhibitions are done by males and 25.2% of females. It’s important to understand the impact that these numbers have. It has an impact on the value and worthiness of artist’s works, it differentiates between genders. Art done by men is valued more because that’s what we see in the market and that’s not because there aren’t enough artworks by women but that is what’s promoted more.In Venice Biennale, which is an arts organization based in Venice that holds private, original or open to public exhibitions, only 33% have been female. The record for the most expensive painting sold by a deceased female painter is held by O’Keefe with $44.4 million. The record for the most expensive painting sold by a deceased male painter is held by Picasso with $179 million. Both had an equal amount of importance by being two pioneers of different art movements.
Art is one of the few careers in which you can be “gender-fluid” in some kind of ways. However, sexism has found its way in this area, be it for men or women. Giving some simple numbers; virtually men and women are almost given the same amount of space to self-advertise or promote themselves with 52% being women and 48% being men. In MOMA – Museum Of Modern Art – men and their artworks dominate with 93%, and with that being mostly female nudes.
Women are far in a better position than they were 50 years ago. But inequality and sexism are still there. Until people understand the importance of equality between genders and acknowledge that there is a wrongdoing to women in the art world, we should still keep fighting and raise the voice for equity.
Prepared: Xhois Qarri