In 1992 the NEA came out with the statistic that although 48% of artists in America were women, only 17% of artists exhibited in galleries were women. The founders of Woman Made Gallery recognized this disparity and created WMG in order to address this problem. While the gap in equality has narrowed since then, there is still discrimination and inequality. Some people, including Ariel Ramchandani in her article “Women Artists at MOMA”, are asking: “How important is it for women to clamor for more representation in museums?”
It is extremely important. The exclusion of women artists in the art canon is appalling and should not be dismissed. In 2007, art critic Jerry Saltz criticized MOMA’s permanent collection: “There are 400 works of art on these floors, and 14 are by women.” Those are staggering numbers, and while quotas may not always be the best way to better represent women in art, there should be more equality in major museums. Including more women artists in canons, art history texts, and permanent collections at museums is crucial to understanding art, whether in a contemporary or historical context. Women have made art throughout history and their perspectives should be represented.
Last year, for the first time in the its history, the Whitney Biennial exhibited more women artists than men. This is a hopeful and inspiring change at a major taste-making museum. And as Ariel Ramchandani’s article outlines, MOMA has also exhibited more female artists in the past year. While these are great strides towards better female representation in art, there is still work to be done. Woman Made Gallery has been exhibiting female artists for 19 years, and almost 7,000 women artists have shown their art here. Woman Made has and will continue to support, cultivate, and promote the diverse contributions of women in the arts.
-Christen Calloway, Gallery Intern