Among the artists included in the list of the 100 most expensive artists at auctions, do you know how many of them are women?
Think about it.
Do you have a number in your mind? Keep it there.
The right answer is 2. Out of 100, only 2 of the most expensive artists at auctions are women.
Quite impressive, isn’t it? That number speaks for itself, I believe.
Some say that actually price is not the right, or only, way to judge and have a perception of today’s art world, meaning that there are other factors that come into play when we enter the world of the art market and artwork prices. So, on one hand, the majority of artworks that are now valued as the most expensive are usually made by deceased artists from the past century or more, and thus were produced in a time where women were less considered and had less opportunities to become known for their artistic talent. This, then, reflects on the artworks purchased nowadays – fewer female artists’ works are sold in auctions.
On the other hand, however, it is no excuse, and it is important to recognise that there can be no excuse so that nothing is ever taken for granted. The worst that could happen in the future is that we accept what we have achieved, and we stop being aware of those inequalities that could happen around us. From my point of view, what really matters is awareness, knowing how the world was and is, and what we can try to do to change it in the future. What matters is being true to one’s beliefs.
The Guerrilla Girls have been one of the first group of artists to address inequality in the art world. Formed in the mid-80s, they write:
‘We are a group of women artists and art professionals who fight discrimination. We’re the conscience of the art world, counterparts to the mostly male traditions of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Batman, and the Lone Ranger. We have produced over 80 posters, printed projects, and actions that expose sexism and racism in the art world and culture at large’
They have attracted more and more attention and now their posters have been awarded places in the most famous modern and contemporary art galleries of the world, like Tate Modern and MoMA. Are they bringing change from the inside or have they just accepted fame and been victim of those same art institutions that they used to criticize? They say it’s the former, I like to think the same.
However, I don’t think that you necessarily have to be a feminist collective to become a popular female artist. That is why I feel that it is important to try and let people know that there are a lot of female artists out there. For contemporary art, I have noticed that there are SO MANY whose work is AMAZING, but they are less known, and their work is not yet exhibited in major museums. Maybe this is also because I am growing more and more interest in digital art, and I am focusing on those contemporary artists that are working with video, 3D, VR, photography, or whatever medium that is slightly less traditional than usual, and thus not yet exhibited by major museums.
So – to conclude, in the next articles I am going to help you discover some female artists that you HAVE to know. I want to attract people’s attention not only on female figures that have been an important part of the history of art, but also on those who are becoming popular right now or are still considered as emerging artists. The majority of them working with digital mediums, not yet that famous to be exhibited in museums. I hope, most of all, that it can be an interesting source of information, and that you can discover new things and broaden your horizons.