New Software Tracks Gender Gap in Museum Collections

New Software Tracks Gender Gap in Museum Collections

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New Software Tracks Gender Gap in Museum Collections sharing by miifplus art and craft and design

Madrid-based visual arts advocacy nonprofit Mujeres en las Artes Visuales (MAV) will launch a tool next year that allows museums to parse the gender and racial breakdown of their holdings and acquisitions. The digital service, developed by art and gender equality expert Marian López Fernández-Cao and sociologist Alma Porta Lledó, will also offer information on the varying amounts of real estate works are accorded by demographics, as well as recommendations on how to promote greater gender equality.

A recent report conducted by Artnet and art advisory firm Art Agency Partners showed that 11 percent of acquisitions made by top US museums between 2008 and 2018 were works by women. Of the roughly 5,800 women whose works were purchased over that period (29,247 works out of 260,470 total from data of twenty-six prominent museums), 190 (or 3 percent) were African American women. The survey included data from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Data also showed that work by women makes up 2 percent of the global auction market, a fraction dominated by just five artists dominate: Agnes Martin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois, and Yayoi Kusama, the only living artist in the list. “We assume that, given the commonly held belief that women artists are amazing, that there had been much more growth,” said Naima J. Keith, curator and vice president of education and public programs at LACMA. “This should be the wake-up call. Maybe we haven’t done enough.”

A pilot program of the software will soon be tested at Latin American cultural institutions. MAV president María José Magaña told El Pais that the objective of the software is a tool “not to carry out audits that denounce erroneous procedures, but to learn together to improve.”

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