Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sydney Biennale

Countess has long ruminated on ideas of success and recognition in the art world, thinking about how success is perceived and experienced in the mysterious 'careers' that artists pursue. Do women and men experience the art world differently?  We at Countess have noticed an extraordinary number of links to feminist issues and news in our social media feeds; maybe, this is because these feeds mirror the things one is searching in Google, or perhaps it's that these issues are popular with the majority of our online community. Either way, this influx of feminism in our feeds is a good sign, showing that there is stuff out there about women's experience of the world and that this stuff is gaining traction. Art-life reflecting online-life, we were pleasantly surprised when counting the gender representation of the just-released list of artists participating in the 2016 Biennale of Sydney, finding a perfect 50/50 split.

Exploring the BOS20 website, the familiar guides to participating artists' credentials are present - part stock market report, part spring racing guide, with an auction-like summary positioning artwork and artist as valuable cultural investments for the Biennale's visitors (and reputation). This public information is also referenced by influential websites such as Artnet, and Artfacts - organisations who rank artists and institutions for art collectors and institutions.

The graphs below shows information from each artist page on the BOS20 website; name, date of birth, location of birth and current residence  (F=female, FF=female/female collaboration, FM=female/male collaboration, M=male, MM=male/male collaboration)

A wise artist once said "Art is for young people" and perhaps she was right, in this Biennale 25 artists are born before 1970, and twice as many (50) artist are born post 1970.  (At BOS19  90% of artists were born post-1970!)

Artists in BOS20 are born in a variety of locations.

Many artists move to central cities such as Berlin, London, Paris, New York and 15 of the listed artists live in more than one city.  

Images on each artists page included information about gallery representation, over half of the artists in BOS20 are represented by galleries.  A quick search of the first 20 (25%) of artists in BOS20 list revealed that 85% had previously shown in other international biennales.