Index

#MuseumsSoWhite

Taken from a lower level looking up, a black-and-white photo shows four levels of a building that curve inwards.
Guggenheim, 2011. Photo © delta_ avi_delta.

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In the past year, with businesses publishing their gender wage gap data and social movements such as #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite trending globally, issues of sexual and racial discrimination are gaining greater visibility and credibility in public discourse. In this climate, Howardena Pindell's surveys from the 1980s and 1990s—which broke down the race and gender of artists shown in major New York museums and galleries—have never been more relevant. After reviewing Pindell's research in preparation for Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen, we felt compelled to continue her inquiry, to see how the art world measures up today. Two curatorial interns analyzed Pindell's reports and, following her methodology, reproduced the studies on some of the same museums using data from 2016. Below, we illustrate Pindell's findings from the 1980s in charts alongside statistics from the updated survey. The results show a small improvement, but prove that there is still plenty of work to be done to bridge the gap. We also turned a critical eye on the MCA and will feature our complete survey on the exhibition website soon.

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BROOKLYN MUSEUM

Brooklyn Museum

1980–88

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2016

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Guggenheim

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1980–87

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2016

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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1980–86

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2016

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Museum of Modern Art

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1980–87

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2016

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NOTE: These statistics include only solo and group exhibitions in which one ethnicity was represented. More work needs to be done to interpret group shows including multiple ethnicities. Current data for all exhibitions can be viewed on the exhibition website along with each study's methodology. Data was broken down according to Pindell's findings.

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You can view the complete report for each survey online. Want to share how your favorite art institution measures up? You can submit your own survey there as well.

JACK & the Community