Cecily Brown (English active United States, born 1969); Half-Bind, 2005; Oil on linen; 103 by 83 inches. Purchased with funds from the Coffin Fine Arts Trust; Nathan Emory Coffin Collection of the Des Moines Art Center, 2006.13. (Submitted by
the Des Moines Art Center)
The Guerilla Girls, an anonymous group of feminist female artists, once created a work that read, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?
"Less than 5 percent of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85 percent of the nudes are female." This 1989 piece was created as a response to research they did on the disproportionate representation of male-artist-created work compared with female-artist-created work.
In 2004-05 they updated the piece, and statistics became worse: Only 3 percent of artists displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art were female.
Fast-forward to 2014, and the situation has not changed much.
ArtDigits online magazine recently came out with the following finding: Of the top 700 ranked artists at auction in the postwar and contemporary market, just 70 are women.
This group of female artists (10 percent of the top-selling artists) generated around $170 million in auction revenues in 2013 or just 4.8 percent of the total revenues generated in New York, London, and Hong Kong in a market of over $3.4 billion.
Here in our own backyard, we are lucky to have the Des Moines Art Center, which has been actively collecting female artists, including recent purchases of works byJoan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeouis, Phyllida Barlow and Iowa artist Larassa Kabel, to name just a few. The museum's exhibited works of or by women show an interesting history of the male gaze and how women artists portray women.
One example of women painting women is the electrifying Cecily Brown painting on display (picture above). The Art Center's Louise Noun Collection of Art by Women also shows a wide breadth.
Now if only we could get the rest of the art world to catch on. Museums are protectors of history; therefore, they help define it. Art museums around the world need to show the rightful place of women artists in history. Then the rest of the art world may take note and follow.
Liz Lidgett owns her own business as an art adviser for corporate art collections. A graduate of the University of Southern California with a master's degree in public art, she has a passion for working with emerging artists. She recently was named the 2013 Juice Young Professional of the Year, was a member of the Business Record's Forty Under 40 in 2012, and was a member of the 2014 class of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.
You can follow along with her projects and get tips for your collection on her blog,Curated by Liz Lidgett, or on Instagram at @LizLidgett.