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The Art World View: Women in Art are in Business

16 June 2016
DISPLAYS Artist Talk – Three Women Painters: Phoebe Unwin, Clare Woods and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (15 May 2014). Photo: Joe Plommer
DISPLAYS Artist Talk – Three Women Painters: Phoebe Unwin, Clare Woods and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (15 May 2014). Photo: Joe Plommer

Diversity, or the lack of, is a hot topic across business and the arts. Since the 2011 Davies report called for a minimum of 25% female representation on boards, companies have been thinking about why diversity is important and what they can do to build a more diverse workforce.

In the art world the same challenges apply – to date, female artists have been dramatically underrepresented. In 2010, only 17% of artists included in the Tate Modern’s collection were female. In 2012, just 8% of public artworks in central London were by women artists.

In the art world there is slow but steady change occurring. Frances Morris will become Tate Modern’s first female Director later this year. Saatchi Gallery’s female-only Champagne Life exhibition was a focused initiative aiming to increase visibility for women artists. Valeria Napoleone’s XX Contemporary Art Society award, launching this year, will reinvigorate the discussion around diverse collecting practices and increasing the representation of living female artists in museum collections in the UK.

In our work we understand that positive discrimination is not the only approach; the challenge is in creating visibility in the pragmatic worlds of public art commissioning. Our key focus is on achieving equal opportunity for all artistic talent irrespective of gender, and recognising the great talent of women artists working in the UK. It’s an exciting time as we see an increasing number of women artists undertaking major projects. Ruth Proctor’s architectural intervention We Are All Under the Same Sky has recently been installed at the University of Cambridge Primary School; Yelena Popova’s design for a seven story high facade at Stanhope & Mitsui’s Television Centre will be made public this year and Aspen Online Art Award went to artist duo Virginia Samper and Blanca Ulloa’s Valley of Rephaites commission.

We work with our clients to unlock opportunities to create the best in contemporary art, and we are delighted to see an increasing number of highly talented female artists being selected for commissioned work.

 

Fabienne Nicholas

Head of Consultancy