Gender ratios in art

The art posters in the last post were all labeled Image de l’art 1988 Art Image and each included the artist and title of the work and its location. There was uneven representation of male and female artists and when I counted the figures in each painting I found that there was also more male adults than female adults portrayed.

There were 21 posters in total that I had found at a resale shop. They were individually priced and so I had picked out a few favorites one day. I liked them so much that I went back a few weeks later and bought the rest of the collection that remained.

Twenty of the twenty one posters had the artist’s name listed. One poster was of an ancient mural from Crete and it didn’t list an artist. Seventeen male artists and three female artists were included in the group of art from around the world.

Within the varied paintings there were 57 adult females and 81 adult males for a ratio of 70.37% females to males. There were slightly more female children included with roughly fifteen girls to nine boys – gender was sometimes more obvious than other times. Four babies were included within the group of 21 posters.

The roles that females were portrayed was largely domestic compared to the males who were portrayed in leadership or struggles against nature or fate. The themes support an idea that I had suggested in a previous post — gender bias may be in part due to a tendency to instinctually think of females as being either a mother or lover, or if not those then she must be an evil seductress.

That seems unkind and unreal but this collection of art supports the roles. Women are mainly seen as mothers or working in domestic roles. They are also seen as observers in the background or at a man’s side in the posters with a group. Except in one painting, however, where an older female fortuneteller is distracting a young man while three attractive young women are listening — and pick pocketing from him in various ways. Another painting has images of death, grim reaper like, and the focal characters are more female in appearance while the observing characters are the ones that are more male in appearance (skulls and masked faces but with more or less feminine looking hats and headscarves).

I could add a list of the paintings and see if I could find links on line but that seems like a lot more work than I have time for at the moment. I wrote the list on paper last night and tallied the figures on paper — old school but easier to carry up a ladder than a laptop. (Third post in the series, with list of the fine art from around the world.)

I hope everyone who planned to managed to get out to vote yesterday. I made it to vote, there was a library millage involved — and libraries are important  😉

Happy Wednesday.

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The Parity Pledge and Gender parity in the art world

The Parity Pledge asks for a commitment to take action and working to increase awareness of gender parity issues was the area I pledged to take action.

Thinker frog might be thinking about other things besides the need for gender parity in the art world. I don’t really know. The photographs are actually unedited rather than being badly edited and were taken with natural lighting. I haven’t learned how to use my new photo editing software yet. /adjusting the light would have been easy on the software that I had been used to using./ So these photos are poor representations of the collection of posters – I’ll add a few details about the collection and the artists later. (Second post, Third post in the series)

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Hanging the collection of posters of art masterpieces from around the world was a self challenge. I had bought the collection used and laid them out on the floor one morning. The arrangement was pleasing somehow and I had an empty wall so — I just hung them up even though I wasn’t sure if I could do it by myself or without a scaffolding. I did have a stepladder though and a tape measure but no other person to help with laying out a measured gridwork over the large area. The room has a cathedral ceiling so the wall has extra space.

With poster putty on the corners laminated posters are fairly easy to stick up anywhere  though and then you can adjust them slightly as needed to straighten the horizon line. I did measure the base of the wall and double check where the center of the room was located. Then I worked from the center row, hanging the lower, middle, upper posters; and then hung the bottom row, middle row, and top row. Thumb tacks at the top corners helped secure them in place after all the tiny adjustments were completed to my satisfaction when viewed when standing on the far side of the room. The poster putty by itself tends to unstick after a day or two — leaving you to rehang and readjust. I learned that lesson earlier though but thankfully with fewer posters involved.

I did it even though I wasn’t sure if I could.


So a revised version of my childhood belief: “One learns by trying, but it helps to read the instruction manual first, and it may be helpful to write one or revise the old one if needed.” Hat tip to Kurt Vonnegut for the part about the instruction manual.

“I’ve often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of planet they’re on, why they don’t fall off it, how much time they’ve probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on. I tried to write one once. It was called Welcome to Earth. But I got stuck on explaining why we don’t fall off the planet. Gravity is just a word. It doesn’t explain anything. If I could get past gravity, I’d tell them how we reproduce, how long we’ve been here, apparently, and a little bit about evolution. I didn’t learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have learned that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn’t a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It’s also a source of hope. It means we don’t have to continue this way if we don’t like it.”
Kurt Vonnegut

Gender inequality in the art industry reflects similar employment and wage differences that are seen in other fields. Opportunities may not be as prevalent for female artists or female art museum directors according to recent research and surveys:

“Women run just a quarter of US art museums with budgets over $15 million, according to the study “The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships,” released in March by the Association of Art Museum Directors and the National Center for Arts Research. Those leaders make just 71 cents for every $1 earned by men, the study says. As for artists represented by galleries in New York and Los Angeles, just 30 percent are women, according to the collective Gallery Tally.” Read more: []

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