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Trisolini Gallery displays an exhibit focusing on how female and male artists are represented and treated differently.

'Gallery Tally' exhibit consists of posters demonstrating the underrepresentation of female artists

Statistics are taken on in a new way through the posters of “Gallery Tally,” which showcases underrepresentation of female artists in galleries around the world.

From Oct. 27 to Dec.3, Trisolini Gallery is hosting the “Gallery Tally” exhibit. Micol Hebron, a practicing artist, began this art project in 2011 by conducting her own research concerning the gender imbalance in the art world. From there, she enlisted the efforts of other artists who felt this issue needed to be discussed. Over 2,100 people have contributed to a database containing statistics about the topic, and so far 535 posters have been made using those numbers.

The fact that “Gallery Tally” is crowdsourced brought a few benefits.

It enables the “extending and expanding” of research and allows artists to “express (their) own voices,” Hebron said. “It’s important for (the) public to see ... people all over concerned about the inequity.”

Courtney Kessel, the gallery director at Ohio University, said Hebron tried to make sure the art posters showcased at each exhibit come from the surrounding region. The OU section of “Gallery Tally” showcases work from about 15 students.

Since the 1960s, Hebron said people have used art as “institutional critique.” But what she did with “Gallery Tally” differs from other projects because of her use of statistics as a backbone in each poster, she said.

“The numbers are there and then it’s just visualized differently ... it’s not spoon-fed,” Kessel said.

Hebron said her inspiration for gathering information on gender inequity in the art world came from how much more attention male artists receive than their female counterparts. She said, by far, men have more works in art exhibits and garner more media attention.

“The funny thing about the art world is it gives a lot of lip service to being liberal and progressive. And yet, it turns out to be just as sexist as everything else,” Jennie Klein, an associate professor of art history, said.

Klein said if an artist wants to bring something different to the table, “it really depends if the artist is committed to certain issues ... and what those issues might be.”

However, some gallerists resist presenting certain conversations. Much of Kessel’s art focuses on themes of maternity and motherhood. Her work has been shown in foreign countries but when looking for galleries closer to home, she found curators were less accepting of her work.

The circumstances are not different for just feminist artists but any female artist, Maggie Prest, a sophomore studying graphic design said, as “women are expected to get more experience and go out there and try harder than men to get these (opportunities).”

Not only is a female artist’s work sometimes shut down, but she can also encounter her own obstacles in the professional art sphere. Hebron said she has had experience emailing curators about showing her work and was treated with cooperation and professionalism when they thought she was male. However, their behavior became the exact opposite when they found out she was a woman.

Even after a female artist’s work is displayed, there still can be inequality in how much they get paid for their works compared to men. Hebron said it is 11 to 14 cents on every male artist’s dollar.

“The art world is disproportionately constructed as being art by men,” Klein said.


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