Thursday, June 16, 2011

When private collections go public

Here are the gender representation numbers for artworks in the Kaldor Family Collection donated to the AGNSW. They have been catalogued on the AGNSW website so CoUNTess got to counting the number of works by female artists (2) and male artists(194) collaborators (6). Now in all the reviews CoUNTess has happened upon none seem to mention the curious fact that in amongst all this "great art" rubbing together and creating new histories and dialogues of cultural importance there are only two works by one singular female artist Saskia Olde Wolbers, and six works by collaborators Bernd and Hilla Becher.



A large selection from the Kaldor collection is merged with works from the AGNSW collection and forms the opening exhibition of the New Contemporary Galleries. This exhibition managed to include 11 works by women, 127 by men and 3 collaborators. Del Kathryn Barton, Mikala Dwyer, Simryn Gill, Rosemary Laing, Janet Lawrence, Doris Salcedo and Susan Norrie.



In 2010 CoUNTess counted some collections and the AGNSW figured better than the rest not any more, in fact it was in response to a Kaldor project that fired this blog into action. Do you think AGNSW will redress the gender balance in future collecting for the museum?

7 comments:

Louise said...

My PhD supervisor pointed out the imbalance, but like you, I haven't seen or heard it mentioned in any online, tv or print reviews (and I've been looking!!)

I can't see it being redressed without a LOT more noise being made.

Although it's not surprising *sigh* I feel really disappointed by these numbers. I've looked up to Kaldor and his projects for so long, I've even volunteered for him, and I expected better.

feedme said...

It's just not just the absence of reviews and acquisitions that set women back – it can often be crueller that. Like the recent case of male honours students bullying a mature age student at a very well regarded Melbourne art school. Gotta chop them em down quickly.

Anonymous said...

Have you guys seen the line up for the forthcoming Adelaide Bienale? Needless to say it's the usual story...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUoUszh98P4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Anonymous said...

Of the works you cite by women artists in the show none actually came from the Kaldor Family (John Kaldor) - they were part of the AGNSW Collection already (possible exception Susan Norrie?. Kaldor was/is notorious for not collecting art by women.

Ian Milliss said...

I agree with your point entirely but you are neglecting Christo and Jeanne Claude. In the 90s Christo insisted that they had to have equal billing because he was sick of the sexism that didn't even privately acknowledge her fundamental role in their work. He was so insistent about it that I once got a phone call from him getting stuck into me about something I wrote where I described Wrapped Coast as by Christo (which was how it was described at the time). "Jan, you of all people, how could you write that, you know how much Jeanne Claude does!" I think it needs to be noted because things have progressed at least slightly, not all artists are sexist even if collectors often are, there have been more and more artists acknowledging that their production is essentially a collaboration with their partner.

Incidentally the great tragic unsung collaboration in Australian art is that between Grace Crowley and Ralph Balson, generally recognised but I've never seen anyone trying to completely unpick what went on.

count.esses(at)gmail.com said...

Yes you are right I think they have an image of the Wrapped Coast in the show - and it is attributed to both of them
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/work/152.1971/

on exhibition are also objects some still referring to Wrapped Coast for instance that are by Christo alone http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/work/WO1.1970/

this would be confirmed by their website as well - http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/major_coast.shtml

I originally counted the numbers from the AGNSW website Collection page which can also select the items that are currently on view in the gallery but have since seen the show and it does not exactly match up.

http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/

Anonymous said...

I just went to see the rehang of the Australian and Contemporary sections of the AGNSW yesterday and there seem to be more women on display. Maybe someone has been listening?