Friday, March 31, 2017

Few people can name five female artists -- can you?

PBS NewsHour: Can you name five female artists? Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe … that’s two.

If you can’t think of more, know that most people the National Museum of Women in the Arts spoke to for a recent Women’s History Month campaign couldn’t, either — even those who considered themselves art savvy. Ask someone to name five artists, they said, and many people will give you the names of men.

10 comments:

Sarah Boyle said...

I took the quiz in the article, thinking I’m an art nerd and I’ll be fine, and only knew 5 of the artists with their works. I recognized some of the other names multiple choice options, but I actually was concerned by that too, because their questions covered most of the female artists’ names I can think of. I knew Yayoi Kusama because I went to her exhibit at the Hirshhorn over break. I can recognize the Vietnam Memorial, but I wouldn’t have been able to come up with Maya Lin’s name if my dad and I hadn’t recently been discussing an installation she had at the Renwick. Mary Cassatt I knew from an exhibition at the NGA. And I couldn’t remember the name of the shadow wall piece, but I saw that one on display a few years ago. I only knew these artists because they were in art museums. Auction prices matter and highlight the disparity, but in terms of actually building recognition, I think that museum gender statistic is much more concerning. It’s hard to google a name I don’t know to be looking for. My high school art teacher used to be my source of cool female contemporary artists, but now I should really find another way to keep learning.

Emily Lawrence said...

There has always been an issue where female artists to do get as much respect as male artists do, but this article had a very interesting way of pointing it out. When I began to think of naming artists, I realized that I could not name more than five, which was very disappointing. While being an artist is not all about being famous, it is about people seeing and understanding the reason and message behind your work. By asking people to name more than five female artists, it points out that women still do not have the same recognition that men do. An interesting point that the author of this article made was that women now occupy art schools more than men, yet there is still little recognition. While I do think it is understandable that men used to be all that were talked about because women didn’t have the same opportunities, women now have the same opportunities and not much has changed. This article has made me want to research female artists to become more aware to help move towards equal rights in the arts.

Galen shila said...

I took the quiz and got a 70 percent. What first became apparent to me was that it was the contemporary female artists that i could not name. I have taken art history courses in the past and we discussed both ancient and contemporary artists. Taking this quiz made me realize that when it comes to contemporary female artists not as much emphasis is put on their work. not only that but not enough emphasis is put on the artists names. I found myself recognizing some of the contemporary pieces but not remembering the artist names. Now this could also be my own memory as well, but i still think that i would benefit from a class on contemporary female artists. In fact that is something i would be very interested in. Overall i think that in the art scene becoming a known name is really hard but become a known name for a female artist im sure is even harder.

Kelly Simons said...

When I saw the headline for this article I was embarrassed to realize that I do not actually know that many female artists. I have studied art and art history at my undergrad and sadly we mainly focused on male artists. The article presents this startling statistic: “There has long been a gender imbalance at art galleries, too. In 1986, the Guerilla Girls released a report card showing that most of the major New York galleries showed only one or two women — if any at all. In 2015, Pussy Galore, a collective that also fights discrimination in the art world, released an updated report card that found representation at galleries had improved, but not by much. All but five of the 34 New York galleries surveyed had less than 50 percent female representation. Many had as low as five or seven percent.” I hope in the future that many more art galleries will have stronger female representation.

Vanessa Ramon said...

I had never thought about how the discriminations women faced would affect their art work as well. The most eye opening part of this article was when the author explained why this is. They stated that in history many women weren't aloud to go to art school or have a model. That is so interesting to me, how things like that can stop and artist from being successful. I also agree with he author when it comes the the frustration over why there is still seems to be not enough room for women artists in the world today. I love how these ads are just one way that women artist and activists are trying to educate the public on this matter. To me the campaign sounds pretty blunt, but I think that is exactly what it needs to be. Overall, I think that this is just another part of the world that has not moved into this decade.

Sasha Schwartz said...

Even as a female artist, I had a hard time naming 5 female artists off of the top of my head. I remember even last year for our Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Project, our class got assigned overwhelmingly more male artists than female artists, even though our class was majority female. In addition, only female students were assigned female artists, while male artists were assigned to both male and female artists. This goes to show that even in a progressive art program, it’s very easy to fall into the male default. It’s true, as the article says, that in this current day and age in which women are coming out of art school programs and apprenticeships almost as readily as men, that there is no excuse for unequal gender representation in our art museums and galleries. I think it’s crazy that only 3-5 percent of permanent exhibits in America are composed of female artists’ work. The Guerilla Girl’s work that we discussed in Special Topics class, including “Do women need to be naked to get into the MET?”, highlights this pervasive problem of men being applauded for their work about women, yet women themselves still come across a large barrier in terms of their own artistic representation. This seems to be a part of the larger problem in general in the world at large that “there just isn’t as much stuff out there! (by women/by minorities/etc)”. The reality is that despite the large quantity of female work to choose from, institutions still favor male artists and that skews their exhibition ratios heavily to one side. The larger stigma against female expression will take longer to break down, but I think it is steadily happening as more and more people stand up to individual injustices.

Ali Whyte said...

I honestly could not name 5 female artists off of the top of my head. Given, I am much more of a subject matter person than name person, but I could definitely name 5 male artists no problem, and probably a few more to boot. I never realised how male-centric every art program I have ever been in has been. I even took the quiz in this article and got 30%. I probably would only get a 60% or so on any art quiz like that one, but 30% is still very low. Especially modern artists, I honestly could not name a contemporary, or even close to contemporary female artist. I think it is incredibly important that schools teach this information. I know people will probably say that female artists are fewer in number historically, but that shouldn't be an excuse to exclude them altogether from curriculums in schools as well as outside discussions in general

Claire Farrokh said...

I definitely cannot name five female artists, but I also know very little about art so I'm not sure how many male artists I could name either. However, I definitely remember from the handful of art classes I've taken that there are a disproportionate amount of men. If you take a look at the freshman's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner projects, there's a handful of female artists represented, but a lot of male artists. I mean this makes sense. When you're looking at the whole history of humanity, the whole women working and being recognized as actual people with abilities beyond cooking and cleaning is a fairly recent development. It kind of makes sense that women aren't super recognized in art history. Which sucks but you know oh well at least we've kind of moved forward. Hopefully like twenty years from now, you can ask a bunch of art junkies if they've heard of five female artists and they'll be able to name like fifteen. Dream big.

Mara said...

If you'd like to keep learning more than 5 women artists, please follow National Museum of Women in the Arts @WomenInTheArts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We share info about artists in our collection as well as current statistics about the status of women working in the arts. We can change the imbalance with thoughtful art fans like yourselves!

Mara
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Washington, D.C.

Madeleine Wester said...

It annoys me that in pretty much every art class I took throughout high school I was taught the history and style of male artists, but never female. Even my extremely socially-aware, social activist art teacher who taught me my senior year, failed to educate us about any female artists other than mentioning Frida every once in awhile. I'm not surprised that so many others have had the same experience as me, and sadly I am not surprised that I only got a 50% on the quiz. Similarly to what Sasha and Claire said above, in our "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" project, the majority of artists assigned were male. I understand that it can be difficult to break away from referencing male artists, especially when so many male artists are very talented, but I believe in the long run it'd be beneficial to discuss and learn about more female artists' work. Hopefully, through education, we can eventually get more female artists to be taught in high schools and colleges.

CMU School of Drama