17 Oct 2010

Art Poll – Are women artists biased against in the art world?

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

An article I published on FineArtViews back in August, Visual Artists: Would You Change Your Name? , generated last week a flurry of comments from many artists readers, discussing the many questions around women artists, and whether they are biased against in the art world. Is it harder for women to get into galleries, sell their art at the same prices as men artists, sell under their full name rather than abbreviate it to use only initials and last name, and is there a glass ceiling they cannot go above?

It did make me wonder, and I even suggested to brainstorm about ideas to make this point out their in the world, and create some art projects that raises the issue, in order to eradicate it completely.

But first, I think a poll would be a great way to see what people are thinking. So please vote here. And, add your comments below about this issue, any of the questions I raised above, or maybe some other related questions. You can also see the comments posted on FAV, just follow the link above.




What do you think: 

  • Is it harder for women to get into galleries?
  • Is it harder for women to sell their art at the same prices as men artists?
  • Can women artists sell under their full name rather than abbreviate it to use only initials and last name?
  • Is there a glass ceiling women artists cannot go above?

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8 Responses to “Art Poll – Are women artists biased against in the art world?”

  1. Thankfully, I have never felt that being a woman has been a detriment to me. I license my art and have never tried to get into galleries or commission my work so I can’t answer to those questions… but when looking at the artists in my industry making the AMAZING money, I think it’s a pretty even split. So to me, in art licensing, it’s about the art and the business, not the gender.


    Tara Reed

  2. Thank you Tara for your vote and comment. It is really important what you wrote about the Art Licensing industry, as an expert and insider from that world, and as one of the art related areas that are not so much talked about in the “mainstream” art discussions.



    Moshe Mikanovsky

  3. Boy, I am someone who has no clue.

    From what little I know of the gallery world (only through friends) it’s a lot of work, little pay, and you have to bring wine and cheese.



  4. The next time you go to an art museum jot down the number of women artist paintings that you can find hanging on the walls. You will be amazed at how little there is in comparison to the amount of paintings created by men.

    As far as a ceiling or whether or not it is harder for women artist to sell/license their art then for men…. I think that it depends on the art work and not the gender.



  5. This is what I have found…Joseph & I are a married artist couple, so this is a big issue…Generally speaking, it has come down to gender preferring gender…Translation: Male curators prefer Joseph’s work, female curators prefer my work…This is not really discrimination in a bad way, merely natural preference…Where it hurts me is that many gallery owners, curators & art collectors are men…So, it has been harder for me than for Joseph…So much so, that he has backed away & is letting me be the “artist” while he handles the “Joe” jobs…I know now to put my energies into my best market- women, & not to hope too much if applying to a society or opportunity run by a man…Again, it is not a negative bias, it is just human nature- also, generally speaking, there are of course exceptions…



  6. Sari, this is a very interesting perspective, being in a artists union like that, having insides into some real data to compare. But at the end of the day, I am sure you and your husband have different styles, background etc.

    I wonder what would happen if you try to promote his art, and he to promote yours?



    Moshe Mikanovsky

  7. Moshe,
    At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding…Yes, if Joseph promoted my work, I might get a few more doors opening…But my use of a soft pastel colour, as an example, a feminine choice, is going to appeal to a feminine eye…I have found that when working with galleries, the gallery owner should outright love my work…It is just harder for a guy to honestly embrace the equivalent of say a “chick movie”…Our work is similar in style, but in fact, tends to differ along gender lines…Given the same subject, I will take a horizontal view, he a vertical…I soften & blend, he more rawly & harshly defines…He uses black as a colour choice, me hardly at all…As more women become gallery owners, my business grows…As more women earn more money, too…I’m doing alright for now- thanks for the suggestion though- I will keep it in mind to send Joseph out if need be…



  8. If you look at statistics, you would not need to ask this question. I don’t think it is a matter of how we each feel about it ourselves and our own careers, but the number of women, people of color and those who don’t make commercial work (work that sells) are not a part of the vertical career. On the other hand, those artists are creating really good work and if we could just start another artworld where access and ideas were welcome, it might be a different story.


    Karen Atkinson

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