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Woman Made Gallery Releases New Study on Gender Representation in Major US Commercial Galleries

Woman Made Gallery logo, chicago, IL

Report’s Release Timed to Coincide with WMG’s presentation of “The Gallery Tally Poster Project” and “Feminism (n.): Plural” exhibitions, May 15 – June 25, 2015

CHICAGO, IL- In conjunction with its forthcoming exhibition The Gallery Tally Poster Project, Woman Made Gallery has issued a Report on Gender Representation in US Commercial Galleries, based on data collection conducted by WMG staff in 2013. The resulting Report is a team effort on the part of WMG staff and Board: Former Gallery Coordinator Ruby Thorkelson led the study and worked with gallery interns to collect the data, which was subsequently reviewed by WMG Board member Monica Staco, a specialist in marketing research with over ten years of consumer insights, strategy and research experience. An infographic visualizing the final data was created by WMG Board member Erin Waser, a graphic designer for ABC 7 Chicago (WLS-TV).
The Report consists of an infographic and accompanying analytic essay interpreting the data and commenting on the study’s broader cultural and historical implications, written by Joanna Gardner-Huggett, Associate Professor and Department Chair, History of Art and Architecture at DePaul University in Chicago.
To read or download a copy of WMG’s Report, please click here.
In her commentary, Gardner-Huggett summarizes WMG’s data findings as follows:
“From a national perspective, Woman Made’s study reveals that Chicago earns second place for women artists securing solo gallery exhibitions. Miami is first with 44% and San Francisco comes third at 37%. Washington D.C. follows at 36%, Boston at 33%, Houston and Los Angeles at 30% and New York City at 18%. Curators regularly acknowledge that group shows establish greater visibility for women. Therefore, the 2013 data validates that the presence of women artists increases substantially with commercial group exhibitions and illuminates specific ways in which women find access to the art market since they cannot rely on being awarded solo exhibitions in commercial venues. In Boston 60% of the artists in groups shows consisted of women and 50% in California. Houston and Miami follow close behind with 49% and 48% respectively, with San Francisco at 44%. Washington D.C. trails with 36%, Chicago at 32% and New York City takes last place with 30%. As with solo exhibitions, Miami is the best place for women to find gallery representation at 44%, with Washington D.C. coming in second place with 41%. Boston is third with 39%, then Chicago at 36%, Houston 34%, San Francisco 32%, New York 28% and Los Angeles 25%.”
Gardner-Huggett’s analysis offers numerous observations on the significance of WMG’s data collection efforts as a tactic of awareness and advocacy for women artists; she notes that “(d)ata collection is one of the oldest and continues to be one of the most effective tools of feminist protest. When museums and galleries are faced by the reality of actual demographics being circulated in public, they are forced to respond.”
Gender Representation in US Commercial Galleries
The Report’s release is timed to coincide with Woman Made Gallery’s presentation of hundreds of posters from The Gallery Tally Poster Project, a crowd-sourced, social engagement art project in which more than 180 artists from around the world joined efforts to collect and visualize statistical data regarding ratios of male and female artists in top contemporary art galleries. Artists were invited to make one poster for each gallery they tallied, in whatever style or medium they chose. The project began with galleries in Los Angeles, with subsequent phases planned for galleries in New York, Berlin, London, Chicago, Santa Fe, Portland, Pittsburg, and other cities. At Woman Made Gallery, the Gallery Tally posters are installed floor to ceiling, occupying an entire lower-level gallery space and essentially acting as a giant, room-scaled infographic.
The Gallery Tally Poster Project is on view at Woman Made Gallery in conjunction with the group exhibition “Feminism (n.): Plural,” May 15 – June 25, 2015. Both exhibitions are organized by Woman Made Gallery’s Executive Director, Claudine Ise. The opening reception is on Friday, May 15th from 6-8pm, with a gallery talk by Los Angeles artist Micol Hebron, one of the organizers of the Gallery Tally Project, taking place at 5pm immediately prior to the reception. 

Press contacts: Claudine Ise, Executive Director [[email protected]]

Sydney Stoudmire, Gallery Manager [[email protected]]


Woman Made Gallery (WMG) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization founded in 1992. Its mission is to support, cultivate, and promote the diverse contributions of women in the arts through exhibitions and other programs that serve, educate, and enrich our community. We rely on membership contributions and individual donations to create the programs that support our mission.


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