Sunday, November 23, 2008


Coming back to our findings a few posts ago, how typical are the Broadsheet numbers? While browsing the aisles at our local (quality) news agency and bookshop — who between them stock most Australian art magazines — CoUNTess decided to buy the lot. Now there are magazines all over the CoUNTess offices, in the boardroom, in the lunch room, even the uni-sex toilets.

The flicking through large glossy pages, recapping of highlighter pens and the singing of post-it notes being ripped off their pads have become the CoUNTesses @'s theme tune of sorts; we keep breaking into singing Money by Pink Floyd for some reason.

The full count

For this project CoUNTesses counted the feature articles in each magazine, as listed in the table of contents. Feature articles are the main focus of the magazine and are often highlighted on the front cover, they are like the meat in the sandwich between the editorial and the reviews, intermingled with the advertisements that in turn supersize them. Our count revealed that feature representation is a goes-around-comes-around world, reflective of gender balance in galleries both commercial and public. While we were at it we also counted the representation of women writers, editors and cover stars - the count proving little better, especially where covers were concerned.

So whats the point of counting? Well, we at CoUNTess just think it is important to put it in black and white to see what you think.

Australian art magazine covers

flash back or not?


mayhem said...

Brilliant again!

I wish, I wish, I wish.... that you peeps could get some research funding... and study the gender of the Ads in said mags.... and also the gender ratios of who actually gets PAID for their submissions to art mags...... coz ya know... errr... writing is mostly a really low status and low paid profession - which is why lots of wenches do it......

Anonymous said...

But what I am curious about is how so many of these low paid "wenches" write about male artists. Are they all being told what to do by the editors?

Or is a case of asking these sisters to get politicised and nominate a few of there fellow struggling ladies to write about?

Anonymous said...

it should be up to male writers as well to write about women.
maybe women write about men because then they are taken more seriously because male artists are the real deal.
and what about the editors why don't they take on the challenge to publish a gender balanced magazine

Anonymous said...

The gender imbalance of the features in art mags seems at face value to be biased, but as others have commented here, the stats reveal more questions - how is that the majority of the writers are women but the features are about men? And what do the stats reveal over a longer time line than just one issue? I wouldn't want to cruel your enthusiasm but you need to go into this research with an open mind, not look for stats to support an already held opinion.

mayhem said...

From wot I can tell - one gets commissioned to write an article for an art magazine usually by a commissioning editor - and usually on a hip cool happening artist who look's like they can boost the magazine's appeal.... it's a pretty tricky little gordian knot there - who's to blame? editors? writers? art galleries? curators? or talented male artists who refuse to have gender reassignment surgery just to prove that it was their talent that got them where they are not their dick?

Anonymous said...

Just because a woman inhabits a job in any of the institutions that anoint artists with 'success' doesn't mean she is a position to change this massive assumption that male artists are the real deal, the most exciting etc.

Anonymous said...

yes it is no individuals fault that women are overlooked wholesale by magazines, museums, galleries, and the rest of it but where does that leave women artists?