Monday, September 01, 2008

George Hits A Sore Point

Pssst. George. DO NOT let Rebel Belle hear you ask this question:
On the bell curve of knowledge of contemporary art/culture I am embarrassingly close to the flat line end representing philistines. I have a sense of something though and wondered whether you could shed some light?

I notice mention of contemporary women artists in your post. Over the last few years I’ve come across an inordinate number (again, just a sense) of women’s names as contemporary artists (painters). In the field of professional painters (and those making a serious attempt) are women represented as never before? Would you venture a guesstimate as to percentage? What about the gender make up of Art Schools?
The very short answer to this question, George, is that Art Schools are well over 50% female, at this point. Art STARS, however, are still overwhelmingly male. Pretty Lady and her friends try very hard not to think too hard or often about these statistics, lest we burst a few blood vessels.

Moreover, painting itself is considered a rather unfashionable medium. There are many persons in the Art World who look at a painting, think, "Oh, that's a painting," and dismiss it out of hand. This is one of the reasons that Pretty Lady herself makes no pretence of open-minded, even-handed assessment of Art Today, but goes straight toward shameless promotion of her absolute favorite art, and ignores the rest of it. The pretense of even-handedness can be one of the most devastating acts of injustice a person can commit.

Pretty Lady's opinion of Art Schools themselves has been exhaustively provided here.

In short, George--you are not imagining things. There is a very large amount of very excellent art being created by women, these days. Sometime in the far distant future, the dealers, curators, collectors and museums may even be persuaded to acknowledge this fact.


Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady

Thank you for your response. I read “Why I Do Not Have An MFA. Eye Opener! Also visited Rebel Belle - boy was she pissed. Came back here posthaste. Will visit her site again when testosterone levels peak.

I have no dog in this fight but find this subject interesting for some reason. Indulge me one other question and I’ll take no more of your time (nor put your vascular health at risk). I’d omitted in my previous comment another sense, that galleries are also increasingly owned or managed by women. Any help there for women artists or are galleries bottom line oriented, period? One thing I have no sense of at all is the dynamic between galleries and artists. Thanks again.

Pretty Lady said...

Between you and me, George, and briefly--yes, there are many galleries owned and managed by women. Many of these women are decent people of integrity, who show work by women artists as well as men, making a decent living for themselves and a fair profit for their artists. You find these women dealers mainly in small towns.

There are other women art dealers who get their jollies from managing a stable of dashing young male artists, many of whom used to be fashion models. The percentage of male to female artists they represent runs, roughly, 8 or 9 to 1. These women art dealers, oddly enough, also tend to be the ones who run the enormous galleries in Chelsea which sell work for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and get a lot of press.

Conversely, high-profile galleries in Chelsea run by men also tend to have an 8 to 1 male to female ratio, even though not all of the male dealers are gay.

Women who work in the development and marketing departments of arts organizations tend to fawn over good-looking young male artists as well. When they meet a female artist their own age--for example, Pretty Lady--they say things like, "How sweet to have a hobby like that. So, what do you do for a living?"