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Research Paper No.2

Representation of Female Artists in Britain in 2016








Are female artists still under-represented in Britain?

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Are female artists still under-represented?

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Summary


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40% of these shows were by female artists

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30% of solo shows at London’s major institutions were by female artists

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Solo Shows in Non-commercial Galleries outside London

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We conducted an audit of solo shows featured in the exhibition programme of 33 non-commercial galleries outside London (2016), and found that:

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Representation of female artists outside of London is poor, at just 35% for all non-commercial galleries. However in contrast to the situation in London, and the 2014/15 findings, representation has actually improved in major institutions outside London, with the figure rising to 42% of solo shows held by female artists. 

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Artists Representing Britain at the Venice Biennale

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Our audit of artists selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale over the last ten years found that:

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50% of selected artists were women

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This represents an improvement from our 2014/15 report, which found that 33% of selected artists were women. 

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Turner Prize Winners 

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Our audit of Turner Prize winners over the last ten years found that:

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44% of winners were female artists 

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Again, this represents a slight improvement from our 2014/15 report, due to the number of female winners in recent years. In 2014/15, the number of female Turner Prize winners stood at 40%.

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Public Artwork

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We created a composite list of the UK’s most popular (5) public artworks created since 2000 and found that:

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13% of these works were by female artists

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17% of these works were by female artists 

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Public artwork by women is not sufficiently recognised or encouraged. We must work harder to ensure public artwork by women has the opportunity to be canonised for future generations. 

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ArtReview’s Power 100

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We analysed ArtReview’s 2016 Power 100 list and found that:

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32% of entries were women

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22% of artists on the list were women

Admission onto the ArtReview’s prestigious Power 100 is a marker of influence in the art world. Unfortunately women, including artists, curators, collectors, gallerists, etc., made up less than a third of this list in 2016. And, of the 23 artists included in the list, women made up less than a quarter. There were only two UK nationals among the artists included in the list and therefore it was not possible to refine these entries for UK artists in any meaningful way.

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We conducted an audit of artists represented by London’s major commercial galleries in 2016 and found that:

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29% of artists represented by London’s major commercial galleries were women

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Representation by a major commercial gallery provides career recognition and stability for an artist. Gender disparity in the commercial sector is plainly evidenced by this data.

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Our audit of solo shows at London’s major commercial galleries during Frieze Week 2016 found that:

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42% of these shows were by female artists 

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We are pleased that despite the disparity in represented artists, many major galleries gave their prime Frieze week slot to a solo show by a female artist. 

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Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sales

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We audited lots up for auction at all Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sales in 2016 and found that:

Jenny Saville’s ‘Shift’ (1970) sold for £6,813,000 in the June 2016 sale. It was the highest price achieved for a work in the sale, and the only work by a female artist in all of the top ten highest-grossing sales in the Contemporary Art Evening Sales in 2016. 

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9% of these lots were by women artists 

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3% of the top ten highest-grossing sales in each of the Contemporary Art Evening Sales were by women artists

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While we have seen some improvements in the public sector, women are still under-represented in many key aspects of the commercial art world. These appalling statistics suggest that women artists are missing out on the benefits of participation in important market structures, such as the auction house. 

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Notes on the Text


Research


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