It has been way too long between posts but we have been having a bit of a rest here at CoUNTess these past months since publishing thecountessreport.com.au in March this year.
The primary rationale behind The Countess Reports findings is that women represent 75% of graduates from visual art degrees at universities yet less than 50% in commercial and museum shows.
Recent 2016 data collected for Masters and Phd graduates at the following popular universities;
Monash University 6 women, 2 men; COFA UNSW 15 women, 5 men; SCA University of Sydney 12 women, 9 men (PhD graduates 6 women, 1 man) and RMIT 13 women, 9 men. Total - 46 women graduates (64%) and 25 men from these four institutions (35%).
But when we look at artists represented by commercial galleries or in curated museum exhibitions like the freshly minted "The National 2017" women make up only 47% of the artists.
Because playing with data is fun - and furnished by the way that so many details of an artists life are publicly available - for example when was the last time apart from reading a celebrity magazine at the supermarket check out that a persons age was so often referred to. While in the art-world referencing an artists age or date of birth is done in a less up front way via a plaque on a museum wall. It is this museum public archive taxonomical system that records an artist's work and life into official local, state, national history, that re-inscribes historical status. We were easily able to find online the date of birth of every single artist in the show but got no results when searching the same for the curators!
Wall plaques also refer to where an artist was born or lives.
Sometimes the work or an image is courtesy of the artists gallery representation - here 25% of the women in the show do not have gallery representation while 75% of them do compared to 9% of men with no gallery representation and 91% who do.
Throsby & Hollister’s 2003 economic study of professional artists "Don’t give up your day job", 67% of visual art respondents nominated formal tertiary education as the most important training they undertake to become an artist (p30). 75% of the artists in The National 2017 have graduated from university with a visual art degree but you will notice that only 10% of the total women have no degree compared with 40% of the total men. Summising that 90% of the women in the show have a degree compared to 60% of the men sheds some light on the who needs these qualifiers to establish ones status as an artist.
Artists in The National 2017 with degrees graduated from these universities - below is a chart from thecountessreport.com.au showing the gender representation of graduates in 2014.
CoUNTess has big plans for 2017 and we hope you can be a part of them - we will be launching one of those crowd sourcing fundraising campaigns to raise money to realise the following projects.
1. Print The Countess Report 2016 into a booklet with ISBN and distribute to all art school libraries and high schools.
2. Create specific educational materials to be available for highschool students and apply to be a part of the HSC, VCE etc curriculum.
3. Commission a guest editor to run the CoUNTess blog and social media for 12+ months and provide writers fees and mentorship.
4. Create a new online system to enable self-reporting data collection of institutions gender representation.
Stay tuned, more news soon.