Awareness in the Media

We have compiled articles of interest on gender bias, backed up by statistics and personal stories from leading figures in the visual and performing arts.

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This well-plotted and fascinating exhibition is particularly focused on the feminine, and the use and abuse of the feminine…But as it tracks the liberation of new energies in surrealist art, “Marvelous Objects” builds to a powerful and disturbing work by Giacometti, “Woman With Her Throat Cut” (1932), a spiderlike form with a clearly articulated rib cage, a neck pushed back at a dangerous angle, a mouth that seems to cry out in agony, and a splay of legs and arms. The statue sits on the floor, embodying the artist’s dream about rape and murder. Not far away are works by Hans Bellmer, who photographed the limbs and bodies of baby dolls, positioned to suggest violence, dismemberment and sexual abuse…read more The use and abuse of the feminine in Hirshhorn’s ‘Marvelous Objects’ – Washington Post, October 28, 2015

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Opera, Ms. Clement argues, is the story of women’s undoing (”defaite” in the French original). In many of the most famous operas women are either murdered or driven to suicide by men: Cio-Cio-San, Carmen, Isolde, Tosca and Desdemona. Or, if their actual murder is suppressed, they are forced to give up their identity and any hope of happiness; Violetta, Tatiana and the Marschallin must abandon the men they love, while Lucia, Melisande and Turandot are dragooned into marriages they don’t want. ”All the women in opera die a death prepared for them by a slow plot, woven by furtive, fleeting heroes, up to their glorious moment: a sung death.” Opera, in other words, is no different from the other artistic products of our culture; it records a tale of male domination and female oppression. Only it does so more blatantly and, alas, more seductively than any other art form. read more “Opera, or The Undoing of Women,” by Catherine Clement, translation by Betsy Wing, New York Times Book Review

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Art history suffers from a well-known disorder known as DWEM syndrome. That is, Dead White European Males dominate the archives, and as a result, nude women are usually the subject of historical erotic art. …read more –Huffington Post Arts and Culture, January 16, 2014/15

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It is a peculiar distinction in the world of playwrights: Works written by men are often called plays. But works written by women are often categorized as “women’s plays.” …Even plays written by men that are “particularly masculine and talk about issues particular to men, are never called ‘men’s plays,’…read more. At Georgetown, reading will highlight a long-standing reality of theater: Gender bias, The Washington Post, July 27, 2012

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Only 28% of museum solo exhibitions spotlighted women in eight selected museums throughout the 2000s….In a report from October 2014, Gallery Tally looked at over 4,000 artists represented in L.A. and New York—of those, 32.3% were women…read more

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…The institutional power structures … made it “impossible for women to achieve artistic excellence, or success, on the same footing as men, no matter what the potency of their so-called talent, or genius,” have been shifting.”…read more. Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures, and Fixes, May 26, 2015,

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The last time the Metropolitan Opera produced an opera by a female composer was before American women got the vote.

An opera composed by a woman will appear at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time next season*, when the house presents the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s ethereal “L’Amour de Loin,” one of the most acclaimed operas of the 2000s…”  Kaija states that … “It’s a shock… It just shows how slowly these things evolve. But they are evolving…” read more Met to Stage Its First Opera by a Woman Since 1903, New York Times, February 17, 2016

*Director of AGBA note: An opera composed by a woman will appear at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time this century.

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Read about the history of male nudes in art – from the first major culture, ancient Greece of the early archaic age (600-500 BCE) through the art of the 20th century…read more Male Nudes in Art History

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At the beginning of “Don Giovanni,” a masked man breaks into a woman’s room in the middle of the night. Later in the opera, the woman — Donna Anna — describes the encounter to her fiancé as an attempted rape. Do we believe her? While we can sift through Mozart’s harmonies for proof, we always return to Anna’s words: The man “wanted to embrace me. As I tried to free myself, he held me even tighter.”…read more “When Cries of Rape are Heard in Opera Halls,” Michaela Baranello. New York Times July 16, 2015

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Since the Renaissance, writers, intellectuals, and artists have been increasingly engaged with gender issues, particularly in discussing the social role of the feminine. The French phrase querelle des femmes (debate about women) referred to humanist discussions about womanhood and the female place in the contemporary culture of their day. Until then, following the Aristotelian approach, women were perceived as imperfect, created inferior to men …read more Gender in Art – The Renaissance and The Baroque

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The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking into gender discrimination in Hollywood and last week sent letters to women directors asking them to share details of roadblocks they have encountered in their careers, according to The Los Angeles Times. …read more Gender Bias in Hollywood Reportedly Draws Federal Scrutiny –  New York Times, October 8, 2015

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…Though women have made great strides towards equality in society, a gender gap still exists. This gap in society is also present in our art museum directorships, and the AAMD and the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) undertook this study to understand the gender gap and explore potential factors to help its member institutions advance towards greater equality…Read full report here The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships.

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From 2007 through 2014, women made up only 30.2 percent of all speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing fictional films distributed in the United States, according to a report released in August by the University of Southern California. Only 19.9 percent of female characters were 40 to 64 years old. Only 1.9 percent of the movies were directed by women. And the numbers for minority women are even worse…read more Actresses on the Stubborn Sexism of Hollywood, New York Times – September 9, 2015

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Ronda wants to break the mold that the entertainment industry has for women…read more Ronda Rousey’s Next Fight: Body Image in Hollywood, New York Times –  October 9, 2015