Artblog Celebrating 20 Years!   Support Us Today!

Guerrilla Gorilla post


Post by gorillagrrl

[We usually don’t run anonymous posts, but this one seemed to have something important to say, and besides, it’s about a new gallery in town.]

hattorimonumentI’m writing something a bit inflammatory and feminist, and I want a virtual gorilla mask in which to do it. I walked into Lineage gallery today, and I liked lots of what they were showing- looks like they are filling the lowbrow art hole once filled by Tin Man Alley gallery- but I left the gallery depressed. Why? Because I’m getting used to a very depressing trend in lowbrow art: there are no women artists allowed in lowbrow art galleries. Or very few, anyways. (image, Naoto Hattori’s “Monument”)

I liked the people there, and they were obviously ready to take my money if I was buying, but I had to wonder if they would have considered showing my art. They might have, but the odds were stacked against me, and not just in the usual way. It’s a huge group show with 22 artists, and there are 2 women in it. If that. (If Naoto and Adrian are women: they are the only non-gender specific names.)

missvanuntitledprint2Jonathan Levine Gallery, the other big lowbrow gallery on this coast, has 25 men and 6 women listed in their stable, which is way more than they had when they were here. And one of those women reflects the other depressing trend I’ve seen in these galleries. Often, when they do show women, they are women who are painting nekkid women with huge breasts. Notice Miss Van. Their track record gets better with previous shows: 7 out of 17 previous artists were women, and of those, only 2 are painting naked ladies. (image, Miss Van’s untitled print 2)

Now, if a woman wants to paint women with big breasts, that’s fine by me, but given that these galleries show a hugely low percentage of women artists, does it not strike one as slightly convenient that they love showing women who deal with sex? It’s a perfect deal for them. They get to continue to be sexist without being called on it by showing porn painted by women. I bet they even think it’s feminist of them to show the work. And I also bet that they think that they just don’t show women because there aren’t that many women artists making good lowbrow art.

leerainofruinAnd my other guess is that because they are so self conciously lowbrow, they’d attack anyone pointing out that they were not showing women by accusing them of being really PC. (image, Adrian Lee’s “Rain of Ruin”)

But the thing is…There are, and have always been, tons of women artists. Art schools are 80% women. And most gallery scenes are pretty much showing 50% women [eds.: really?]. Which is a bias against the numbers of women who were trained to be artists, but reflects a fair overview of society.

yuskavagekathyBut lowbrow galleries have been given some kind of pass- nobody talks about this issue because of the threat of seeming damnably PC. Because they are so socially transgressive, we let them get away with being jerks (Lisa Yuskavage’s “Kathy”).

I suggest, girls, that you keep your money in your pockets, and that you talk about this with your friends: there’s no reason this has to happen. There are lots of women artists making every kind of art, and even lowbrow art could be for everybody if these male gallery owners would just get on it. Lets hope Lineage improves.

–guerillagrrl, we think, is a Philadelphia artist