Monday, November 28, 2016

Men at work

‘Oh what a night’ crows the header for the latest Arts Foundation newsletter. Apparently it was not only ‘rich with art’, but also ‘full of insight’ and ‘sharing’, ‘hilarious’ and generally ‘wonderful’ (five times). The cash went to Taika, Peter, Lyell, Dylan and Eleanor. That’s right, for the seventh time in its 17-year history only one woman got a look in. Still that’s better than 2006 where it was guys all the way.  Just twice in its history has the Foundation ever given a majority (three of five) of its Laureate Awards to women and that was back in 2007 and 2011 so it wasn’t a trend. All up, male Laureates make up 70 percent of the total. As for the rather pompously named art ‘icons’, under a third of the 33 so far named are women.  And it’s not just that these proud self-congratulators believe women aren’t up to Laureate and Icon standards. In an art world administration dominated by women the Arts Foundation has men occupying 80 percent of their Trustee positions and 63 percent of their Governors.

Sure it’s great they spread some money around the arts, and sure it’s nice they have swish evening events to spread it, but as they haven’t learnt in 17 years that women play a decisive role in the arts in this country, they need to have a good look at their foundations.

COMMENT 28/11/16 I’ve just done a quick tot up of the marketing managers at art institutions. Of 31 institutions, four have male marketing managers – about 12%. I count museums like Te Manawa and Auckland Museum as they regularly have art exhibitions. I didn’t count the partially CNZ funded art spaces like Enjoy, Blue Oyster, Artspace...all of which have women in marketing roles. (Thanks C)