Women Can’t Paint: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art
When men sign a work of art it increases in value, yet when a woman signs her work it goes down. In this groundbreaking study of gender and value, Helen Gorrill argues that such inequality remains rife within the art world. Using a new statistical method, she constructs a database that allows her to contend that there are few aesthetic differences between men’s and women’s painting, but that men’s art is valued up to 80 per cent more than women’s. Museums, she attests are also complicit in this vicious cycle as they collect tokenist female artwork which detracts from women artists’ market value. Gorrill’s provocative book is essential for students, teachers, researchers and practitioners. It challenges the methodologies that have previously defined women’s role in the art world and introduces striking evidence that being a woman impacts upon all forms of artistic currency; be it social, symbolic, cultural or economic.
Helen Gorrill was formerly an associate lecturer in art history and semiotics at Coventry University. She has an extensive background in multi-disciplinary fine art research and her own artwork is digitally archived by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. She has also exhibited worldwide.