Monday, December 14, 2009

How Sad is That?

Things have been hectic around here, what with holidays and deadlines and such. I don't have any photographs, which are usually the driving force behind blog posts, so I have been quiet.

In the meantime, a couple of fellow Cooper Union alum and I have been having a conversation over on Facebook about the state of representation of women in the NYC art scene. Apparently the 2010 Whitney Biennial is nearly 50/50 split between men and women - a very, very rare thing indeed. I made a snarky "it's about time" sort of comment but the conversation drifted into deeper waters from there.

The truth is, if you check out the NY Times Friday gallery section, you will notice that most, if not all, the exhibitions reviewed are by men. If you look at museum exhibition schedules, they too are still heavily male dominated. Museum collections: check. Major galleries: check. It seems that, even in 2010, women are woefully under represented. But to say that aloud these days is very uncool. Like Feminism happened, you know, back in the 1970s so what's your problem? Still whining about that old thing?

Here is one thing I wrote about this situation:

I remember being in a project at Art in General that included monthly talks by various curators (both men and women). Some of them would talk to me ahead of time to get a little more information about my work. I will never forget the way the whole conversation once just sank and I was instantly dismissed when I mentioned that I wanted to touch on issues of labour, time, women's work, etc.. It was like I said I was using hearts and rainbows to show the joy of life or something. I could almost hear the curator, a guy, erasing the words "serious artist" from next to my name. Naturally I never said that again!

My friend pointed out that she sees a majority of women when she attends artist talks, visits art schools, or goes to grant-related workshops. And often women over 40 (do they even exist? I wonder...). So where are all these women showing their work? Oh, I get it! They're not.

Also, she pointed out that most of her CV is filled with exhibitions curated by women. I find this to be true as well. Do men not like our work? If so, why?

This poster was made by the Guerrilla Girls almost 25 years go, but it is still completely true. How sad is that?

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