Delbar Shahbaz and Sam Anvari’s poster for Schneider Gallery, Chicago
Gallery Tally is a crowd-sourced, social engagement art project in which 180+ artists from around the world have joined the effort to collect and visualize statistical data regarding ratios of male and female artists in top contemporary art galleries. Artists were invited to make one posters for each gallery, in whatever style or medium they chose. We started with galleries in Los Angeles. The second phase of the project will focus on galleries in NewYork. Subsequent visualizations will include Berlin, London, Chicago, Santa Fe,Portland, Pittsburg, and other cities.
THE CALL forPARTICIPATION:
Design and print/produce a poster that represents the gender statistics of one of the top commercial, contemporary art galleries on the list below. Posters must be 2’ x 3’ (either horizontal or vertical orientation)and can be any medium – digital, photographic, drawing, collage, etc.
According to the US Census, 50.15% of the population in LosAngeles is female. Undergraduate BA and BFA programs in studio are approximately 80% female, and 20% male. On average, MFA programs in the U.S. are approximately 60% female, 40%male. In Los Angeles, over 70% of the artists represented in the top 100 galleries are male.
The Gallery Tally poster project follows a strategically collaborative working model that has been common among feminists and activists for decades. A collaboration among artists results in the creation of a horizontal or rhisomatic labor structure, rather than a hierarchical (and patriarchal) one. We have engaged in a positive, creative response to this very negative data. The data has provided an opportunity to build a new community of concerned and engaged citizens in the art world, and to showcase each individual artist’s creative voice within the group collaboration. It is a response and alternative to the hegemonic, hierarchical, patriarchal,heteronormative ‘standard’ that has unjustly dominated the art world for far too long.
While it is a common assumption that there is a male-biased imbalance in gender representation in the art world, the data – the actual numbers of artists– have not been visualized and publicized since the GuerrillaGirls’ efforts in the 1980s. (though the artists of the Gallery Tally project are NOT anonymous).
The fact that so many artists from so many cities are involved is indication of the significance, impact, and current relevance of this issue. By raising questions about the simple(ified) gender ratios(male/female), other concerns are immediately raised. What about: Representation of queer artists? Artists of color? Disabled artists? Older artists?
By posing the simple question of male/female ratios, many other questions quickly arose, though none of these questions were new. (sales, grad school, magazine ads, collectors…) as did interest in doing this project in other cities. There are now cohorts in Santa Fe, Philadelphia, New York, Berlin, and London who have begun to count.
HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF THE PROJECT:
Since 2011 Micol Hebron has been conducting informal research on gender statistics in the art world – by counting Art Forum ads, orby noting the number of male and female artists in exhibition rosters, award lists, etc. In summer 2013, she posted a chart that tallied 50 galleries in LosAngeles. The immediate and substantial response from the community indicated an interest in the data, and Hebron opened the project to expansion by inviting participants to crowd-source continued research. Within 2 weeks, nearly 200people had joined the project, and the posters were under way. The first batch of 75 posters were exhibited in a group exhibition “Margin Release Right”, curated by Kio Griffith at West LA CollegeGallery.
SEE THE POSTERS!
To learn more about the project and see many of the posters that have been made thus far, you can visit the sites below:
Gallery Tally: Calling for gender equity in the art world
FACEBOOK group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/514330251981431/
GOOGLE Doc (where we are collecting and tallying data):https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArTdfB5ylrm4dE8tSk45Zkhudm12azdmVlRBS1BmYUE&usp=sharin