​the next issue of artnews is women only

The art industry is horribly sexist and ARTnews have the stats to prove it; that’s why they’ve dedicated their next issue to Women in the Art World.

by Charlotte Gush
29 May 2015, 2:23am

ARTnews, Women in the Art World issue cover

When MoMA in New York opened a new building in 2004 to display work from the permanent collection made between 1880 and 1970, of the 410 works on display just 16 were by women; and numbers were even lower for non-white artists. At the Hayward in the UK, just 22 percent of solo shows in the past seven years were by women, and at the Tate Modern, only 25 percent of solo shows 2007 - 2014 have been by women. These are just some of the cold, hard numbers in Maura Reilly's damning report on the scale of sexism in art that forms the centrepiece of ARTnews's next issue, focusing on Women in the Art World.

ARTnews editor Sarah Douglas was approached by Reilly with the stats last autumn and the idea for an all-women issue began to take shape, she told Vulture. They started with the famous Linda Nochlin essay, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" that the magazine published in 1971, and asked Nochlin to explain how she came up with that question. Apparently, Nochlin was watching Gloria Steinem speak when gallerist Richard Feigen turned to her and said, "You know, I'd really love to show women artists, but there just aren't any great ones." Sadly, Reilly confirms that in 45 years, little has changed: gallerists still use that same, tired excuse.

They hope that spreading these stats around the internet will help make the problem vivid to many in the art world and beyond who think things aren't so bad now. "It's the most shocking thing when people hear statistics," Reilly told Vulture, adding, "I've seen people cry. I'm not exaggerating. Women coming up to me going, "Oh my God, is it really that bad?" People really think that things are good, that we're really doing okay, and then they hear the statistics for MoMA representations or how little the Tate Modern is showing women, and begin to really decipher those numbers and those stats — and it's really glaringly obvious that the sexism is still so woven into the fabric, the cultural fabric."

Artist Cindy Sherman told ARTnews she wasn't surprised at the stats, explaining that, "I've always sensed that women artists have to prove themselves exceptional in order to get their foot in the door, to be considered for something, whereas many, many mediocre men artists easily get by". "Artists are great, but the art world sucks," the Guerrilla Girls conclude, but they add that, "The good news is that lots of artists are rejecting this corrupt system. Like us, they're working to create an art world they want to live in".

Douglas and Reilly both hope that helping the art world to admit that it has a problem (and having the stats to prove it) will be a solid step toward finding solutions that will bring about greater equality.

Cindy Sherman
Guerrilla Girls
women in art
maura reilly
sarah douglas