Thursday, June 12, 2008

It case you missed it, there was a recent NYTimes article on the state of "professional artists" in the US with some interesting NEA statistics. Among the surprises:
"The only artists whose ranks declined since 1990 were, as a group, fine artists, art directors and animators, to 216,000 from 278,000."
and, "If every artist in America’s work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farm worker."
And, never a surprise:
"Overall, the median income that artists reported in 2005 was $34,800 — $42,000 for men and $27,300 for women."


Blogger libby said...

this is a lofty question, but what are the reasons behind the gender skew in fine art and income?

i'd guess it's the same phenomena as the rest of the working world (judeo-christian dynamics, etc), but it's difficult to find info on this puzzling imbalance - especially in the new PC culture that's supposed to embrace women and minorties.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

What? Women don't even get a salary range? Just stuck at 27,300...I see....

2:40 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Honestly, I think that it is a matter of self confidence, which translates into $$$.... the same way that, in a corporate situation, a man may make more money because he ASKS for more. Have you ever noticed any difference in the way men & women artists sound when they are being interviewed? Is there any female equivalent of Hirst or Koons? I often fight the feeling that I am "showing off" (to use a grammar school term that defines this feeling) when I make sure others know of my accomplishments... do you think male artists are concerned with that?

Women artists are still always trying to make sure we are "taken seriously", so we are wary of some of the ways that we can make $$ from our art. Go to Hirst or Banksy's website and see the things that are for sale. No fear of making $$ there.

4:05 PM  
Blogger libby said...

when it comes to making real money from making (sometimes real) art, the line between self-confidence and outright egomania is very fine.

this is an idealist's argument, but i think i'd rather be broke and making stuff i love, than look like a huge tool peddling work that only furthers the foolishness. the way you play the game and all that.

(mostly geared at koons-esque ilk - i really like damien hirst's art, and find his crafted persona much more authentic, in a glittery, disco kinda way.)

5:29 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I have been giving this all a lot of thought lately. I think the bottom line is only making working that you believe in.

Because I have struggling with not having money my whole life until about 2 years ago, and because I have always associated poverty with virtue, (I'm sure it would take years to unravel that), the part I am challenging in my own mind is the part that might ASSUME that one needs to remain poor in order to maintain integrity.

In Ed Winkleman's post about "day jobs" last week, Ed suggested that diversification, creating several sources of income that might keep you afloat in lean art-selling times, is a good plan, and it is one I am exploring.

10:48 AM  

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