Culture

Artfinder exposes shameless art world sexism – join the protest

By Kitty Knowles 9 February 2017
Summary

Artfinder knows female artists outperform men in EVERY metric - and they've got the data to prove it.

When you walk the halls of the National Gallery, it’s easy to think of art as a man’s world.

In fact, before the 19th century most women painters who enjoyed anything like professional status were the daughters or wives of male artists.

But today times have changed, and there are more modern female artists on the blossoming Artfinder marketplace than men.

What’s more they outperform their male counterparts on every metric:

Artfinder’s female artists sell 40% more artworks than men, they sell their work 16% faster, and for every £1m of art men sell, they sell £1.16m.

Artfinder CEO Jonas Almgren (right) and COO Michal Szczesny.

Female success in the face of sexism

This might sound like wonderful progress in a world that still regularly denigrates women, but the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

That’s because, despite these facts, the wider art world is still extremely sexist.

The 10 richest artists in the world today, for example, are men. And of the 100 top lots at auction in 2015, just one was a woman.

In 2004, when New York’s MoMA opened its new building, only 4% of its artworks were by women. And between the years of 2007 and 2014, Tate Modern has granted female artists solo exhibitions just 25% of the time.

“We’ve known for a long time that Artfinder artists have pretty much a 50/50 gender balance, which is unusual in the art world,” says Jonas Almgren, CEO at Artfinder.

“That’s not something we did on purpose – it just so turns out that when you remove the gatekeepers, around 50% of artists represented are women.”

The ArtWorldSexism campaign

The good news is, the Artfinder team isn’t about to lie back and accept prejudice.

The team this week shared their findings in a new Gender Equality report, launched their ‘ArtWorldSexism’ campaign in association with International Women’s Day 2017 (8 March), and are calling on art organisations around the world share their data on gender representation.

You can also show your support by signing their pledge or counting how many of the artworks in your local gallery are by men and women: if you tag Artfinder on social media they will contact the organisation directly.

“Gender equality is something that every one of us can take action to change,” said Almgren.

Will you join the charge to bring about change?

Join the campaign @artfinder: Stand up to #ArtWorldSexism & ask organisations to #BeBoldForChange