Talking Point

What does it mean to be a woman in art?

With shifting political landscapes and women's marches happening around the world, how are women artists addressing their rights and identities, in their work and beyond?

Hear how women artists, curators, and Tate Exchange Associates are making their voices heard in the art world.

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Are women represented fairly in the arts?

I don’t feel there’s enough female voices in the arts. There’s a huge gap that can be filled.

Kelly Green

Artist, Fairground, Tate Exchange

According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 51 per cent of visual artists today are women. But when it comes to exhibitions and gallery representation, the numbers tell a less optimistic story. In London, for example, 78 per cent of the galleries represent more men than women, while only 5 per cent represent an equal number of male and female artists.

And beyond the statistics, women artists and curators face unique challenges, from the subjects they bring to light to the work they choose to present. As Tate Modern director Frances Morris has said, women have been discriminated against for centuries, and major institutions have typically failed to support the careers of women artists working on the margins. The number of women in the Tate collection is growing, and half the rooms in the Switch House are currently devoted to a sole female artist, but work remains to be done.

So what can we do to more fairly represent women in the arts? Should we strive for an equal split of men and women artists? Do we rewrite the history books? Or is some other way? Tell us what you think.

What's next for women artists, curators, and practitioners?

My advice to women in the arts today is that it is a changed world. But it really is still a case of pushing and pushing and making opportunities and never being complacent.

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern

Since opening in September 2016, Tate Exchange has hosted a number of events exploring issues of representation, visibility, and identity from the perspective of women artists. Legendary performance artist Lorraine O'Grady opened up a frank conversation about the reality of ageing as a woman. The Guerrilla Girls brought a spirit of activism and a series of provocative banners exposing inequality in the art world into the gallery. And the W Project hosted a forum featuring leading women artists and curators and questioning the future of curation.

But as Frances puts it, this is only the start. The next step is to bring more and more diverse voices into the gallery, to seek out women doing challenging and innovative work and those who were neglected by history, and to work torwards greater representation of diverse, non-European women in collections and galleries, at Tate and beyond. And for that, we need your voice.

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Tate Exchange

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Trailblazing women artists

Artist

Cindy Sherman

born 1954

Exploring female clichés in pop culture through transformative self-portraits.

Artist

Guerrilla Girls

dates not known

A collective of artists, writers, and activists fighting discrimination in the arts.

Artist

Sonia Boyce

born 1962

Exploring memory, spectatorship, and British Afro-Caribbean identity.

Artist

Rebecca Horn

born 1944

Navigating the body and the world through prosthetics and wearable sculpture.

Find out more in the gallery and online