The Latest from American Women Artists

Carrie Waller Abundance

Gender Disparity at Home

 With all the talk of AWA’s 25 in 25 campaign, I got curious.  How many women artists do I have represented in my own art collection? If we are asking museums to be more conscious about the gender disparity in their permanent collections then shouldn’t we be asking the same thing of ourselves as art buyers?

I grew up in an art-filled home. Although my parents were middle class, they spent their money on collecting art.  My three sisters and I all inherited the art-collecting gene; it’s what led me to own and operate a gallery for 10 years. My husband and I started collecting art when we were first married, over 30 years ago.  We couldn’t afford to buy a home until we were almost 40 but we owned art!

I set about adding up the art I have in my home and calculating what percentage are works by women.  Here it is: I have 63 works of art, 22 of which are by women artists — or 34%. I honestly thought it would be higher. This has been a good lesson. Maybe museums assume they have more works by women artists in their collections than they really have? One thing is for sure, this exercise has made me want to focus my collecting on art by women in the future.

What about you?

– Robin Knowlton, Executive Director of AWA