(The Lack of) Women Artists at MoMA: Saltz on FB, Reprinted on Winkleman

The indefatigable New York and New York critic, Jerry Saltz , is leading a spirited discussion of gender inequality at MoMA. Starting point--for this leg of the discussion, at least--is the report on his Face Book page of his meeting with Ann Temkin, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the museum. (Not sure if it's kosher to link to FB this way?)

Comrades in struggle: The Guerrilla Girls, left; Saltz
A snippet: "Temkin stated that work by women artists has been rotated into the collection over the course of the last two years, and that the FB protestors and I were not taking this into account. I acknowledged this but said that even with these substitutions and changes the percentage of women artists on these floors did not rise, and that these adjustments weren’t enough. (If you count the works of art, rather than artists, the figure drops to four percent women.) "

With Saltz's permission,
Edward Winkleman has reprinted the critic's report.

This is a discussion worth following, wherever you follow it. If you're on FB, I think you can jump in to comment.


martin said...

aaaaah you cropped my piece!!! - m.

Nancy Natale said...

Salz's discussion with Temkin brings up a lot of interesting points about what place a museum plays in the scheme of things. I think it's difficult to sort out but Salz's main point that so few women are shown is totally valid. This is not a discussion that took place in the '70s but that began in the '70s and continues. It hasn't changed. To say that women are better represented in areas other than painting and sculpture is to relegate them to lesser-than status.

Thanks for posting this, Joanne. It's good to know that Jerry Salz continues in his crusade.

Joanne Mattera said...

I did. I'm sorry. It was too perfect; I had to use it. How can I make it up to you?

Yes, this is a discussion that began over 30 years ago. And Look how few gains have been made.

Unknown said...

Jeffry Cudlin just posted about this topic over at his blog in reference to a recent local symposium.

It included this comment that I thought was telling and somewhat stunning.

"I can’t find the exact quote, but Piper basically said that abstraction and formalism led directly to the suppression of black cultural heritage…and that, whenever women or minorities move in significant numbers into any avenue of cultural production, that type of work necessarily becomes devalued, and the establishment moves their party somewhere else."

I get this visual of a bunch of suit clad white men in a treehouse, one pointing and screaming, "Quick! They are getting close... pull up the ladder!"

lynnxe said...

Few gains, but gains, nonetheless, mostly outside of institutions. Change takes place glacially, over generations, but the important thing is to never drop the conversation, no matter how tired we are of it. We will get there, someday...

Delia Brown said...

ah yeah! you outted Jerry!!

Elena De La Ville said...

Joanne: Thank you for posting this. I just posted a comment about it in the Boca Museum Blog
Where Kelli Brodi, curatorial assistant, brought this to light there.
She talks about “this stagnant attitude towards re-writing women into the history of art.”

We need to keep this conversation in the forefront and although we cannot change what has happened up to now, we can sure correct the imbalance from now on.
Elena De La Ville