Only 18 Percent of Artforum’s Covers Feature Women Artists, Says Micol Hebron

Micol Hebron's research reveals that women are underrepresented in contemporary art. Photo: Micol Hebron via The Los Angeles Times

Micol Hebron’s research reveals that women are underrepresented in contemporary art.
Photo: Micol Hebron via The Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles artist has conducted a study into gender equality in art by analyzing the artists featured on the covers of Artforum magazine, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Micol Hebron found that, since its inception in 1962, only 18% of Artforum covers feature works by women. In contrast, works by men are featured on 74% of covers. The remaining 8% of covers feature works by artists of unidentified gender such as ancient or indigenous works for which the artists are unnamed.

Describing the research process she told the Los Angeles Times “It got to be this weirdly obsessive thing. Once you count one year, you feel like you have to count the next. And I started to ask myself, ‘Is this how a gambler feels? Maybe if I count again I can get a better number.”

She explained how although the representation of women improved over time men have consistently outnumbered women on the front page, adding that the analysis of the magazine closely reflected art history.

“You can see one year where there are more women than men,” she says. “That was 1992. And it’s really interesting, because it just precedes the 1993 [Whitney] Biennial, which is a historic biennial because it looked at identity.”

“The same thing happens in 2008,” she says. “There’s parity. But then in 2009, there’s only one woman.”


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