Black Girl Magic
"The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible." - Toni Cade Bambara
September 2020 issue of Vanity Fair featuring a painting by Amy Sherald of Breonna Taylor











Postmodernism = a term first applied to architecture in the 1970s and 80s, now understood as a broadly defined movement that embodies a rejection of several characteristics of Modernism: the idea that art must be a unique, sustainable oject such as painting or sculpture; that art is a marketable commodity; that the perceptual aspects of art (what it looks like) are key to its significance; and that art must be hand made by the artist. - Lisa Farrington, African-American Art: A Visual and Cultural History


Xenobia Bailey, Trilogy, 2000.











Adrian Piper, My Calling Card #1, 1986.











Never in School

Kim Dingle, Priss, 1994-1995.
Kim Dingle, Never in School, 2000.












Slavery! Slavery!

Kara Walker, Slavery! Slavery! Presenting a GRAND and LIFELIKE Panoramic Journey into Picturesque
Southern Slavery of "Life at 'Ol' Virginny's Hole' (sketches from Plantation Life)"
See the Peculiar Institution as never before! All cut from black paper by the able hand of
Kara Elizabeth Walker, an Emancipated Negress and leader in her Cause,











Kara Walker, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked
Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World
on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant,











Kara Walker, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, Art 21












Alison Saar, Rouse, 2012.

Lauren Halsey, they got lil bit, 2013.











Nona Faustine, From Her Body Sprang Their Greatest Wealth, 2016. Wall Street, New York.

Nona Faustine, Over My Dead Body, 2013. Tweed Courthouse, New York.











Ellen Gallagher, Bird in Hand, 2006.

Lorna Simpson, Wigs (Portfolio), 1994. 21 lithographs on felt with 17 lithographed felt text panels.








April Bey, Colonial Day Sale I (Pink), 2020.

Mikalene Thomas, COME WITH ME, NOW I NEED YOU, 2007.





















Are we there yet?
  • On average, only 30% of commercial galleries represent artists who identify as women. (NMWA)


  • Only 13% of the artists included in the collections of 18 major U.S. art museums identify as women, and only 15% of the artists in these collections are POC.
    • About 46% of visual artists in the U.S. identify as women. (NMWA). Payscale reports that 49% of people employed in arts, design, entertainment, sports & media are women.
    • More than 61% of MFA students identify as women. (NMWA)
    • In the 2019 Biennial, 50% of the artists included use she/her pronouns while a majority of the artists (75%) identify as POC. (ArtNews)
    • Similarly, the 2019 Venice Biennale (begun in 1895) was the first to feature a slight majority of women artists.
  • According to Norma Broude and Mary Garrard, H.W. Janson's influential textbook, History of Art, first published in 1962, contained neither the name nor the work of a single woman artist through the 1980s.
    • Only 27 women (out of 318 artists) are represented in the 9th edition of H.W. Janson’s survey, Basic History of Western Art.
Marilyn Minter, Stepping Up, 2005.











  • 2010 marked the first time on record that more women were employed then men. As the economic recession improved, women's representation in the work force declined.

  • In 2020, for every $1 earned by a man, a woman earns 81¢. (Payscale)
    • Up from 74¢ in 2015.
    • The average amount of money earned by women throughout their career is $900,000 less than that of men. When we control for women’s pay, it is $80,000 less. In other words, women with the same job title and qualifications as a man, making a median annual salary of $60,700 in 2020, would need to work more than a year longer to earn the same as a man.
    • BIPOC women earn 75¢ to every dollar earned by a white male.
    • Women in Alabama earn 73¢ to every dollar earned by a white male, while women in Vermont earn about 89¢ to every dollar earned by a white male.
  • Higher education does not lead to pay equity. Women who have earned a B.A. earn about 80¢, women who have earned a Master's Degree earn about 79¢, and women who have earned a docctorate make slightly less than 80¢ for every dollar earned by a white male.
    • Anesthesiologists, electricians and farmers experience the largest wage gaps (about 17¢), while lawyers who identify as women tend to earn similar wages to white male lawyers.
Marilyn Minter, Stuffed, 2002.











    • 2041 for Asian women;
    • 2069 for White women;
    • 2369 for Black women;
    • 2451 for Hispanic women.
  • (Just a decade ago, it was projected to be obtainable by 2057.)
Wanda Ewing, Black as Pitch, Hot as Hell, c. 2005.











Guerrilla Girls, Untitled, 1985 - 1990.

Guerrilla Girls, Untitled, 1985.


Although the Paycheck Fairness Act was passed by the House of Representatives on January 9, 2009, it was defeated in the Senate on a 58 - 41 procedural vote in November 2010.

It was reintroduced in the Senate as a bill that would punish employers for retaliating against worker who share wage information. On April 9, 2014, it failed an important vote to end debate. It was reintroduced again in 2019.











Prices for works by women sold at auction have increased since 2008:
$10.8 million in 2008
$10.9 million in 2013
Natalia Goncharova, The Flowers, c. 1912.
Berthe Morisot, Apres le Deujeuner, 1881.











$11,925,000 in 2014

Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1960.











The most expensive work by a woman sold at auction is:

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, 1932
which was purchased in 2014 for $44.4 million by the Crystal Bridges Museum.











The three most valuable works of art:
sold by Dimitry Rybolovlev in 2017 to Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism for $450.3 million
sold by David Geffin to Kenneth Griffin in 2015 by private sale for suspected $300 million
sold privately by George Embiricos to the State of Qatar in 2011 for $250 to $300 million
Leonardo da Vinci,
Salvator Mundi
, c. 1500.
Willem De Kooning, Interchange, 1955.
Paul Cezanne,
The Card Players, 1892 - 1893.
  • The difference between the highest price paid for a woman artist's work vs. a male artist's work is $405.9 million!
  • A 2017 Artsy study on the value of works bought at auction, only two women artist's names appear on the list of 100 most expensive works of art!! Many nude women are represented in the works, however.











  • The world's first elected female president was Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland, whose term lasted from 1980 to 1996.

  • In 1916, Jeannette Rankin from Montana became the first female congresswoman.
    • In 2006, Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House (second in presidential line of succession).
    • In 2021, Kamala Harris will become the first female Vice President and President of the Senate (first in presidential line of succession). When she assumes this seat, there will be no Black women serving in the Senate.
  • The 117th U.S. Congress will be comprised of at least 25% women (103 Democrats and 32 Republicans so far) (the world average is 24%).
    • Women comprise 50.52% of the U.S. population.
Marilyn Minter, Bottled Blonde, 2006.
Enamel on aluminum.












Are the dishes done?


Liza Lou, Kitchen, 1991 - 1994.











Liza Lou, Kitchen (detail), 1991 - 1994.