Museums leave female artists out of the picture


Blot photo by Leigh Lustig

A photo captured from NAHS’s trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Maddie Lee

As junior Francesca DiMiceli of Middletown walked through the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the National Art Honor Society trip on Dec. 22, 2019, she couldn’t help but notice that most of the art displayed was created by men.

“When I looked around, there was not as strong of a presence in women’s art as there were of men’s,” DiMiceli said. 

When it comes to art, women only make up a maximum of 30% of artists shown in galleries and museums, despite amounting to 60-75% of students majoring in art at universities, according to a study from Bustle

Freshman Lucy Battista of Tinton Falls believes that the acceptance of female artists in school is much more appreciated than it is outside of CHS. 

“I think that within the school we’re really open and accepting, but if we’re talking about getting into galleries then women are still going to have a harder time getting their work out there because of a subconscious bias that society has right now,” Battista said. 

Furthermore, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) reported that although women earn half of the MFAs granted in the US, only a quarter of solo pieces in New York galleries include women. 

This controversy tends to progress out of the gallery when it comes to comparing men and women’s dominance in the workplace. There seems to be no end, according to Maura Reilly, a curator and writer based in New York City. 

“I’m tired of being asked the question, ‘Why is there continued inequality?’,” Reilly said in an interview with Bustle. “I always think to myself, what planet are you living on? We live in a society ruled by males in every sector, not just art.” 

Though women often pursue the same careers, they aren’t given the same amount of opportunities to get their work presented. According to Reilly, when a woman tries to push through that male dominated 70-30 ratio of artwork shown, there is a lesser chance she will get the spot. 

Women also have to face unfavorable views from art critics, who sometimes focus more on their gender rather than actual artistic ability. “Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness. Women make up 50 percent or more of classes at art school. Yet they fade away in their late 20s or 30s,” said art critic Brian Sewell in a 2008 interview with The Independent “Maybe it’s something to do with bearing children.”

Freshman Joey Esposito of Tinton Falls said that he feels like gallery work is different than creating art in general, which may give one gender the advantage over another. 

“Gallery art is something where it’s economic and powerful, so men would try to take the upper hand.” Esposito said.