Museums in Argentina are only lighting works made by women in response to gender equality marches.
Last week the movement Nosotras Proponemos—or “We Propose”—organized a 700,000-strong march through the streets of Buenos Aires, demanding gender parity in all aspects of Argentinian life. One of the proposals involves improving the vast difference in how male and female artists are treated by the country’s top cultural institutions. The National Museum of Fine Arts has only had two shows devoted to female artists in the last five years, and in the last 17 years, only 30 percent of the artists chosen to show at the country’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale were women. Nosotras Proponemos detailed a lengthy list of demands to correct the imbalance, and some of Argentina’s museums responded with a performative gesture: More than 30 institutions had agreed to dim the lights of artworks made by men throughout their galleries, shining a light only on work by women for at least a portion of the day. National Museum of Fine Arts artistic director Mariana Marchesi admitted that there was much work to be done, but the museum was happy to inch its way toward Nosotras Proponemos’s goals. “Yes, the proportion of women in our collection is low—around 500 works out of 13,000—but we are committed to take up Nosotras Proponemos’s valid arguments, discuss the current imbalance and make a change, where we can,” she told a reporter for Hyperallergic.