Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why don't females fare better in the Art world?

The NZ Herald's run-down of the Writers and Readers Fest includes more notes on what Sarah Thornton said about the gender divide in the art world:
Thornton found interesting gender differences both among artists and art collectors. She suggests one reason why so few artworks sold for over $1 million are made by women ("maybe now 10") is that auction buyers are predominantly male, while collectors who are female often prefer to be primary buyers - that is, to buy direct from galleries and get to know the artists whose work they're buying. She says female artists in general are less interested in selling work and making collectable items, particularly in a factory-style studio - "they're less happy to delegate".

Update: I should add that there are some people who reject all speculations on the 'causes' of the gender divide: they hold that the only reason women are not as successful as men is pure and simple discrimination. So, women, you can stop beating yourselves up over not being pushy enough. It's not your fault that men, even less competent men, are given more opportunities because they are male and you are not.

From a 2008 article in the LRB (the rest of the article is not for the faint-hearted):

"At the time of the Nobel Prize, [Elfriede] Jelinek was asked whether she thought feminism had made any significant gains over the years. Nothing, she said, would lead one to suppose that it had."

I think all of us, men and women alike, will have our different ways of dealing with this information.

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