Baltimore Museum Goes Women Only for a Year
November 17, 2019 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Next year the Baltimore Museum of Art will only acquire art made by women. In addition to only acquiring art made by women the exhibitions and programs will also focus on women artists. Over the past 10 years only 11% of all art bought by major museums and only 14% of the exhibitions was made by/focus on women artists.
posted by brookeb (16 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
I approve of this. Museums need to do more to break old cycles.
posted by sonascope at 11:11 AM on November 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


Sometimes a drastic change is what's needed to make improvements against the status quo. I've enjoyed the BMA in the past, and diversifying its collection can only stand to make it better. I look forward to learning about more artists previously unknown to me. I do hope they acquire art by non-white artists, too.
posted by mayurasana at 12:28 PM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Past examples of Baltimore Museum "putting their [art] where their mouth is" by selling ("deaccessioning") parts of their collection to fund efforts like this.

(also San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Art Gallery of Ontario)
posted by saeculorum at 12:31 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


One thing the article mentions that's really interesting is that museums are often reluctant to buy works by women because the sales history doesn't exist to support the prices so they can't be certain that they are getting good value for their limited budgets. But, of course, if museums won't buy them because they have no sales history, it's a lot harder for them to get the sale history needed for museums to buy them. It seems like a few museums breaking the cycle and taking the chance could maybe make these artists much more buyable for other more cautious institutions.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:33 PM on November 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Surely if art is good, and therefore worth showing, the sex of the artist is totally irrelevant???

It should be but female artists past and present have been severely underrepresented. And people think art is worth less if they believe it's by a female artist, even if it was created by a computer.
posted by LindsayIrene at 12:52 PM on November 17, 2019 [18 favorites]


Yes but was it a girl computer?
posted by q*ben at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Technically all computers have female ports, but you can't just assume that all computers with female ports identify as female.

But nearly all computers have a motherboard inside them
posted by Merus at 3:17 PM on November 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Other modality-wise, there's been a Theatre Jubilee movement to do something similar for the 20-21 season.
posted by HeroZero at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2019


I look forward to the BMA becoming famous for having all the important early works of several schools of art.
posted by clew at 8:23 PM on November 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yeah yeah yes. Onward to 200 years of only women on the Supreme Court and a millenia or two as rulers of every country.
posted by lauranesson at 8:51 PM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


So, during that year, any good art made by males will be ignored? Isn't that just as sexist?
posted by Drewstre at 10:39 PM on November 17, 2019


So, during that year, any good art made by males will be ignored? Isn't that just as sexist?

No. In a world that just began last year, maybe. In the world we live in? Nope, not at all.
posted by el gran combo at 11:37 PM on November 17, 2019 [8 favorites]


So, during that year, any good art made by males will be ignored? Isn't that just as sexist?
Can we not centre this discussion on "but what about the men?" at this early stage?
posted by winterhill at 1:55 AM on November 18, 2019 [7 favorites]


So, during that year, any good art made by males will be ignored? Isn't that just as sexist?

Yes. You are absolutely right. I don't know how we all failed to see this before.

One museum choosing to highlight women's art for a year is every bit as sexist as literally thousands of years of the oppression of women and their virtual exclusion from the world of serious art.

Thanks for pointing that out or I would have gone on thinking this was a good idea.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:05 AM on November 18, 2019 [13 favorites]


Maybe men who make really great art during this particular, single, year that the Baltimore Museum is choosing to focus on acquiring art made by women, could, I don't know, sell it to one of the thousands of other art museums that intend to continue the status quo museum practice of buying art made by men substantially more often than art made by women, Drewstre.

Just a thought.

Back to the actual subject of this thread: This is a really great move and I hope it inspires more museum staff to think about ways to bring long overdue balance to their collections.
posted by BlueJae at 5:48 AM on November 18, 2019 [5 favorites]


CBC article about an upcoming auction focused on women artists, which addresses how exhibits like the Baltimore Museum is planning, galleries and auctions can work together to create interest.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:14 AM on November 20, 2019


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