Art Market

The Baltimore Museum of Art will only acquire work by women artists in 2020.

Wallace Ludel
Nov 19, 2019 4:37PM, via Baltimore Sun

Carrie Mae Weems, May Flowers, 2002. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © Carrie Mae Weems.

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced that it had acquired a slew of works by women and artists of color this past June with the intention of diversifying its holdings, some of it with funds raised by deaccessioning work by artists the museum believed to be over-represented in its collection. Now the BMA is taking this approach further: It will only be acquiring works by women artists in 2020. This applies to works that the museum purchases as well as what it recieves as donations. In addition to collecting work by only women artists throughout the year, all 22 exhibitions slated for 2020 at the BMA will be focused on women artists.

Museum director Christopher Bedford told the Baltimore Sun:

This how you raise awareness and shift the identity of an institution [. . .] You don’t just purchase one painting by a female artist of color and hang it on the wall next to a painting by Mark Rothko. To rectify centuries of imbalance, you have to do something radical.

Presently, of the 95,000 works in the BMA’s permanent collection, 3,800 artworks were created by a total of 1,500 women artists and designers. Bianca Kovic, incoming executive director of the National Association of Women Artists, told the Sun:

It’s particularly important that the BMA is creating a platform for woman artists to showcase their work, because that will inspire other women to make art. Even today, female artists are highly under-represented in museums. We have a lot of work still to do about educating the public on the importance of women in American art history

The lineup of 2020 exhibitions at the BMA includes shows devoted to Ana Mendieta, Joan Mitchell, and Mickalene Thomas, among others.

Wallace Ludel