Museums: Misogynist?

Tyler Green’s 2006 Top 10 list at Modern Art Notes had me wishing I made it to Los Angeles and Washington this year, but his take on Amy Sillman’s exhibiton at Sikkema Jenkins left me quizzical. He writes:

“The best contemporary painting show of the year. If Sillman were a younger male, then museums would be falling over themselves to show her work. (Similarly: Marilyn Minter.) Sillman should have already had a Hirshhorn Directions-level show somewhere.”

At first I thought to myself that young (and youngish) women painters are not exactly invisible. To wit, and in no particular order Julie Mehretu, Elizabeth Peyton, Dana Schutz, Inka Essenhigh, Laura Owens, Jenny Saville and recent Turner Prize winner Tomma Abts all have strong markets and media attention. But then I realized that as far as I can recall these seven have had relatively little museum attention. That’s an offhand memory sweep without doing any actual research (hey, it’s still the holidays), but if if Tyler says women painters are under-represented in museums, I’ll assume it’s right, given his mania for all things musea.

But, wait, does this mean that museums are less receptive to women than either the market or the arts media?

2 thoughts on “Museums: Misogynist?”

  1. I don’t think this is restricted to museums. I hear this complaint, albeit offand as if it were a truism, regularly from gallerists, agents and artists. Have never seen any stats, though. Are you suggesting that this received wisdom (that women artists are under-represented in the art world as a whole) is false Marc?

  2. No, my point is that perhaps galleries and magazines have embraced women artists – specifically women painters – more strongly than museums, which would be somewhat ironic. Because the women I named all have strong markets and frequent press coverage, but perhaps less museum support. That said, I’m not going to go too far out on a limb on this one (because, again, I’m only extrapolating from Tyler’s aside on Sillman, not having done real research myself). Just a thought I’m floating out there for discussion.

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