One of QSIDE’s focus areas is diversity and inclusion in art. Our work, which was covered extensively in the press, shows that among artists whose works are held in the catalogs of major U.S. museums, 85% are white and 87% men.
As an outgrowth of that work, QSIDE affiliates participated in a datathon at the National Gallery of Art (NGA). Our work looked at 110,000 objects in the NGA’s collection and found that 84% were created by men and 96% were created by white people. If we restrict attention to works actually put on display in the museum at any given time, around 92% were created by men, meaning that the diversity on display is even less than what is in the collection.
The art museum world seems to have moved form lack-of-awareness to anecdotal awareness to, now, awareness that is supported by empirical evidence. But I say… enough navel gazing! Awareness is well and good, but it is time to take action. To address the egregiously low levels of diversity will require big, bold changes. Enter the Baltimore Museum of Art, who has pledged that next year, they will only acquire works of art created by women. Bravo!!