'I like art by men better.'
March 7, 2015 7:35 AM   Subscribe

New York Magazine on MoMA's identity politics and gender balance. Art Basel Miami Beach gender balance by the numbers. The White Review on gender balance in the London gallery scene. Georg Baselitz in Der Spiegel:
As always, the market is right. [...] Women simply don't pass the test. The market test, the value test. Women don't paint very well. It's a fact.
Collectors still pay more for male artists. [previously]
posted by shakespeherian (29 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Women don't paint very well. It's a fact.

With the possible exception of Pricasso, I don't see how this "fact" could be justified.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:37 AM on March 7, 2015

It can be justified if you believe "the market" has perfect knowledge and no bigotry (and it helps if you believe this about yourself). But since "the market" is, you know, people....
posted by rtha at 7:42 AM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Amrita Shergil

Jamini Roy
posted by infini at 7:46 AM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

"The market" is all about catering to bigotry and all the other moral failings of those with money to spend (of which "having the money to spend" is often one of those moral failings, thankyouverymuch).
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:47 AM on March 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Women don't paint very well. It's a fact.

I can never decide whether the fact that complete morons are in positions of great influence should be encouraging (if this dipstick can do it...) or depressing (if this dipstick can do it...).
posted by leotrotsky at 7:50 AM on March 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

I went to the Albertina in Vienna not long ago to look upon their collection of modernist/impressionist/postmodern paintings, and was astounded to discover the work of an artist I'd never heard of before: Natalia Gontscharowa, a Russian painter whose work is as far as I'm concerned far and away better than some of the much more famous contemporaries she was being displayed alongside. And when I say "never heard of before," this is after spending a semester deeply immersed in the art world of exactly that time and place for a critical writing class. I want to slap history in the face for leaving her out.

So what I'm saying is, I guess, same as it ever was.
posted by Andrhia at 8:01 AM on March 7, 2015 [7 favorites]

"Women simply don't pass the test. The market test, the value test. Women don't paint very well. It's a fact."

I don't get it. Why say this? I mean, even if one feels it to be true in some way (which I do not), why not just let facts be facts and move on? Stating it out loud does nothing but agitate many people and distracts from the appreciation of art.

NOTICE: If your opinions have the ring of sexism, but you feel that reality supports your position, then reality won't need any help, and you should probably just shut up. Especially if the consequences of your silence involve maybe some art being appreciated instead of some other art.
posted by General Tonic at 8:08 AM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

you know the bit in the fourth season of Game of Thrones where Arya and the Hound run into some nasty-minded lackeys of the Mountain, and one of them is like "hey man come rampage with us, we're serving under the king's colors and no one is strong enough to oppose us," and the Hound, who has just spent a fair number of years guarding Joffrey and who knows exactly how thoroughly shitty and violent and stupid he is, simply replies "Fuck the king"?

That's how I feel whenever someone claims that something is just or good because the market likes it. The market is a violent, stupid, spoiled child and should not be in charge of anything. Fuck the market, fuck the art world, fuck the patriarchy, fuck the king.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:10 AM on March 7, 2015 [58 favorites]

The secret is in the having of a penis. Hapenis comes from the uses of the penis in making art created by males relevant, to the art evaluation system. If more art by people with a penis makes more money, then more people with penises will take up art making, and there will be more penises for everyone, this is the penis supply chain as relates to fine art dealing. Then fine art institutions can have more penises all around them while they declare the value of and declare the world of fine art, to be fine. Meanwhile painters and other artists who do not have penises, they are just not as good as the artists who do have penises.

As an artist, I have never been privileged to view how artists who have penises attach the paint brushes to their penises to create such fantastic work. I believe this sacrosanct mystery plays out over wine and cheese and is in a realm of such fulminating tuminescense that those lesser artists (those without penises,)have not the fundamental receptivity to successfully intuit the needs of the market.
posted by Oyéah at 8:20 AM on March 7, 2015 [17 favorites]

Women don't paint very well. It's a fact.
Bollocks - another fact. Oh and here are a few more.
Maybe he means that mega wealthy men and their financial advisers who know fuck all about art pay more for male artists because they are "know",whatever that means, and an "ïnvestment".
I'm with You Can't Tip a Buick on this one.
posted by adamvasco at 8:23 AM on March 7, 2015

Huh. Talking about artist gender and MoMA with no mention of Guerrilla Girls? Five demerits!

The New York Magazine piece is from 2007. I can't speak to how or if there's been significant change in the past nearly-a-decade, but I there is an Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon going on at MoMA literally this very minute, and there's still time to pitch in.

(This isn't meant to address the larger topic of sexism in the art world, which is absolutely atrocious, but the timing of the MoMA-shaming seemed off.)
posted by phooky at 8:26 AM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

The White Review article is topped by a Guerrilla Girls piece.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:30 AM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oops, so it is. My bad; I focused on the MoMA link.
posted by phooky at 8:31 AM on March 7, 2015

The use of blind auditions has dramatically increased the number of women playing in orchastras.
I really would be interested in Baselitz participating in a non market based study where he chose favored unknown works without accompanying identifying information.
posted by edgeways at 8:45 AM on March 7, 2015 [7 favorites]

Women don't paint very well. It's a fact.

Might be old hat to anyone interested enough to be reading this thread, but Linda Nochlin's 1971 essay "Why Have There Been No Great Female Artists?" (PDF link) is one of those things that really earns its "seminal" status. She annihilates ideas like that "fact" and does a great job of laying out the ways in which the system has been rigged for centuries.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2015 [10 favorites]

Kind of tangential, but I work in medicine, and it's interesting to see how completely illegitimate this opinion becomes when applied to other professions:

"Women don't do surgery very well. It's a fact."
"Women don't research very well. It's a fact."
Women don't program very well. It's a fact.

I know plenty of female specialists and surgeons, and if any of my male colleagues were ever to say the above comments, they would immediately get a verbal and occupational beat-down so severe it'd be difficult for them to find another job. Considering how glacially slow the 'old boy' culture of medicine moves, I am profoundly distressed to find that in 2015 the (supposedly liberal and quick moving) art world still allows such sexist bullshit to propagate.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 9:12 AM on March 7, 2015

I'd make a joke about not being able to paint, but from what I hear, I'm not capable of being funny, either.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:28 AM on March 7, 2015 [25 favorites]

I am not an authority on art or feminism, but...

When it comes to San Francisco / Burning Man style giant sculpture, I would say that women are doing very well indeed. Every single one of my favorite pieces in that scene was led by women.

Flaming Lotus Girls
Karen Caousilito
Rebecca Anders
Jessica Hobbs

But that isn't painting and it isn't for sale, so I guess it doesn't count.
posted by poe at 9:41 AM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that it's specifically the straight, white men who paint "better" than everyone else.
posted by Foosnark at 9:50 AM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

specifically the straight, white men who paint "better" than everyone else.

Dead masters. And the metric of success is the amount of money in an auction? These are contemporary articles I found on page one of search results:

In 2005, Marlene Dumas’ piece “The Teacher”, a forbidding portrait taken from a class picture from her childhood in South Africa, sold for $3.3 million.

In 2010, Bahora Girl, a painting by South African artist Irma Stern, sold for £2.37 million (approximately $3.59 million) at Bonhams auction house in London. The painting is from Stern’s time in Zanzibar, where she was powerfully affected by the beauty of the local Indian women. This was one of many of her pricey pieces born out of inspiration from these travels. In 2011 Stern’s painting titled Two Arabs was the highest price ever for a painting sold in South Africa, selling for R21.17 million (approximately $1.8 million). In 2012 another of her paintings, of a distinguished Omani Arab man, title Arab, sold for R17.2 million ($1.46 million).

Bharti Kher

Although Bharti Kher ranked No. 102 in Artprice’s Top 500 for 2012-2013, as the second most expensive Indian artist after [Anish] Kapoor, she doesn’t figure in the Top 500 for 2013-2014. This doesn’t mean that Kher has lost popularity, but a plethora of prolific Chinese artists have recently filled up places at the top of the list.
Nonetheless, Kher’s renowned ‘The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own’ (2006) sold at Sotheby’s London in 2010 for USD1.5 million, makes Kher the top-selling Indian woman artist and surpassing her husband Subodh Gupta’s selling record of USD1.4 million. The same work was sold at Christie’s New York Spring auctions in May 2013 for USD1.785 million, setting a new record for the artist at auction.

Shilpa Gupta

Shilpa Gupta is the youngest artist in this list, nonetheless she has risen to stardom in recent years for her cutting-edge multimedia practice that woos audiences worldwide, including at events such as the prestigious Venice Biennale. She is not part of Artprice’s Top 500 list, but she is often mentioned amongst the most expensive and popular artists, and has featured at auction with them since 2008. Gupta’s work at auction at Christie’s and Sotheby’s have commanded prices up to around USD50,000, such as her ‘Untitled’ C-print on canvas sold in 2008, , the first year the artist appeared at auction. Gupta is a highly sought after Indian artist who works with top galleries and is commissioned for prestigious worldwide contemporary art events. At this stage of her career, her most important platform is the primary market, where she is popular with both private and public collections.

Women Painters of the Ming Dynasty

my way of expressing the sentiments shared by adamvasco and You Can't Tip a Buick and I guess teh whole thread
posted by infini at 10:21 AM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I like how all you need to make a "fact" is have an asshole repeat it a lot from a position of power.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:42 AM on March 7, 2015 [7 favorites]

Nevertheless, no matter what the numbers or facts or data show, we shall still never suffer from a shortage of mediocre white male artists who are utterly convinced that the only thing standing between them and greatness is the horde of undeserving "minority" artists who are only receiving accolades because their work deals with "political issues." We will always have our mediocre white male artists, famous and not, and when it comes to the not-famous ones, we can always count on their whining and moaning and bitter self-superiority as they dabble about in their derivative recycled twentieth century crap. No one will ever be able to convince them that the reason for their lack of success and fame and millions of dollars is that they are no-talent hacks. So, all the facts really serve to do is leave the rest of us a little more depressed, demoralized, and enraged.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 11:30 AM on March 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

p.s., Jenny Saville
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:50 AM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Even in the halls of Metafilter the (2 year old) ramblings of a known provocateur dominate the discussion and provide him with the platform that nobody wants him to have.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:08 PM on March 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Actually, it provoked a nice list of links to well known and expensive work by women from around the world.
posted by infini at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

it's almost like no one looked at any of the links and is just responding to a pullquote
posted by shakespeherian at 1:41 PM on March 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

I don't get it. Why say this? I mean, even if one feels it to be true in some way (which I do not), why not just let facts be facts and move on? Stating it out loud does nothing but agitate many people and distracts from the appreciation of art.

Because this kind of cocknoggin thinks it's a subversive/radical/transgressive statement that's like, saying what everyone else is too afraid or blinkered to say and that they're like so enlightened for not only knowing it but putting it on to words.

It's the high level academic version of the way reddit shitposters think, essentially. And you see versions of it from small pretentious "hipster" art shows all the way up to "high art", apparently. I thought it was mostly a disease of the former, but i guess i was wrong.
posted by emptythought at 1:45 PM on March 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Depressing but predictable outcome of the patriarchal wealth disparity, innit?
posted by klangklangston at 6:02 PM on March 9, 2015

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