By Erin Spencer
1 March 2019
Sometime in the 1970s an art collector and patron by the name of Wilhelmina Cole Holladay began asking people in her circles: “Where are all all the women artists?” Some thirty years later she would indirectly get the answer most weren’t willing to say out loud from a man who spoke to a reporter at Art Basel in 2014: “I just curate what I like, and I like art by men better.”
Fortunately, Holladay didn’t wait that long to get her answer and in 1981 founded The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA)—the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women in the arts. Since its doors first opened, Holladay, alongside the museum’s staff, have worked tirelessly to find those women artists—those that history forgot and those still working that are deserving of a platform. By putting in advocacy work, by hosting a lectures and panels or simply by lending some state-of-the-art wall space, they hope to ensure women artists of the past and the present can hold a place in the future. Though many in the industry will sing praises to the work the museum has accomplished, it’s clear that they still have their work cut out for them.
According to the National Endowment for the Arts, 51% of living visual artists in the US today are women and, on average, those women earn 81 cents for every dollar made by their male contemporaries. A recent study by the Public Library of Science found that of the permanent collections of 18 prominent art museums in the US, 87% of the represented works were completed by men. Most recently, a joint study conducted in 2017, by artnet Analytics and Maastricht University in 2017 found that just 13.7% of living artists represented in galleries in Europe and North America are women.
Read the full article in Forbes.