TIAMSA Member News: Study about gender inequality in the Spanish art system, by Marta Pérez Ibáñez

Marta Pérez Ibáñez, PhD Art Historian, chair of the Spanish Institute of Contemporary Art and member of TIAMSA, has coordinated a research about the uneven gender balance in the Spanish art market and art system. This study is based on data collected from museums, art centers, art galleries, art fairs and biennials over the last years, as well as testimonies from more than one hundred professionals in the Spanish art world.

Although there is a high number of professional women artists active in Spain and it is a group with high education, training and specialization, there is an evident imbalance in visibility and access to the mechanisms of distribution, legitimation and commercialization of the art work with respect to male artists. 

The aim of this study, developed by Marta Pérez Ibáñez, with the collaboration of art historians Carolina Rodovalho and Semíramis González, is to offer a critical vision of this problem, relying mainly on primary sources: the artists themselves, gallery owners and other professionals and agents of the system and the art market art in Spain. This enables to approach the different standpoints on the subject, proposing possible measures in order to optimize professional practices to reverse the tendency of Spanish women artists to suffer situations of inequality with respect to men. 

The research is based on two previous studies. First, in the research work “The economic activity of artists in Spain”, published by Pérez Ibáñez and López-Aparicio in 2017 and the subsequent segmentation of the data provided by Spanish women artists, who represented 52% of the total of artists analyzed, contextualizing and analyzing their circumstances in comparison with those provided by men and with global data. Second, the work “The price of art in feminine. The Situation of Artists in the Spanish Art Market”, carried out by Carolina Rodovalho in 2018, which served to question the different personal and subjective appreciation of Spanish women artists regarding their relationship with the market, which turns out to be very different to testimonies coming from other professional profiles. 

In this monograph, both works converge and expand, also including studies carried out at the international level on some of the problems that characterize the current situation of inequality, comparing them with the Spanish context and analyzing the evolution perceived in recent years.

Download the publication here.

Click here to see the video of the presentation with the authors and other arts professionals (in Spanish)