Only 2% of global art auction spending is on work by women, study finds

A new report finds women’s work still underrepresented in the art world, with only 11% of art purchased by institutions female-made

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A new study has found that despite perceived signs of progress, the art world remains overwhelmingly male-dominated.

According to a report assembled by In Other Words & artnet News, the last 10 years has found a lack of growth for female representation in art with just 2% of global art auction spending on work by women. This figure is also unevenly distributed, with five artists making up 40.7% of this figure and Yayoi Kusama in particular accounting for 25% alone.

The study looked at 26 art museums and institutions in the US as well as an analysis of the global art market between 2008 and 2018, following on from a similar study looking at African American artists.

It was found that out of the total number of art acquisitions for permanent collections only 11% (29,247 acquisitions of 260,470) were by women while just 14% of exhibitions were either from solo or groups of female artists.

“When we set out to do this project, we were excited to track just how much things had changed for female artists,” said Julia Halperin, artnet News executive editor. “So, it was quite disheartening for us to find that the numbers remained so low, and there had been so little measurable change. But we can’t solve a problem until we acknowledge it exists, and this project serves as an important reminder that we have a long way to go before we reach parity.”

Earlier this year, a study by Chad Topaz also found that US museums were struggling with diversity across the board. His data showed that collections from 18 major institutions were both 85% white and 87% male.

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