LA Artists and Art Spaces Outside the Canon

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The Guerrilla Girls have christened themselves the Conscience of the Art World. But why does the art world need policing? The Broad Contemporary Art Museum that opened this past February houses a show with staggering percentages: 97% white and 87% male, according to the Guerrilla Girls. What are the causes of this gross disparity? In trying to answer this question, I decided to interview artists themselves for a more qualitative approach to solving this problem. For this project, I limited my interviewees to women and artists of color. I learned from my interviews that this iniquity involves many factors. The artists? gender or cultural/ethnic identity is only one of these. The message in their work is also a very prominent factor, as some said that their work is political and thus considered threatening. This aspect is often directly related to the ?salability? of the work. An artist of color is often expected to engage with their ethnic identity in particular ways. I found through my interviews that artists of color are often thought of as delegates for their cultural group; as if one Chicana?s experience can provide a definitive definition of the Chicana experience. I also studied the galleries that the artists? work does get shown in and the press that cover their shows, and most of them were alternative spaces and press sources that are rarely paid attention to historically or internationally. Do we want to continue to experience only a slice of the art that is created?


Donna Maeda




Ford Research Endowment

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