December 20, 2018

Who's Counting? ME

On Average, 39% of Gallery Shows in New York Exhibited Work by a Female Artist. What galleries did the best (and who did the worst)...
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On Average, 39% of Gallery Shows in New York Exhibited Work by a Female Artist

Through my efforts of attending (or at least being aware of) any possible gallery show that’s made publicly available, I’ve collected and cleaned LOTS of data over the last six months. So I thought it’d be fun to take a look each half to some of the trends...particularly around female artists and how they’re being represented.

In the wake of the #metoo movement and increasing social pressures for galleries to have a diverse artist roster (as they should), I thought I’d see who’s actually doing a ‘good’ job.

Mary Lynn Buchanan at Lisa Yuskavage's show at David Zwirner on the UES 

So over the time frame of early June until end of December 2018 (about 6 months) I collected data and analyzed the following sample.

406 Gallery Shows

198 Galleries

16 Neighborhoods’re reading that correctly. If you live in New York city and find it hard to see all of the openings, it’s not because you’re lazy..or crazy. In the month of September alone there were over 210 openings.

How many galleries show works by female artists overall? 

Yes, sadly you read that correctly - 82 galleries (41% of all galleries) had 0 female artists in their shows. No women. No women at all in any of their exhibitions for the half.

Nine, or 5% of galleries had 3 shows with at least one female artist (clearly Lyles & King, Rachel Uffner, Mary Boone and Bridget Donahue are in this category).

Mary Lynn Buchanan viewing a painting by Jessie Makinson at Lyles & King

Top Galleries For Exhibiting Female Artist's Work

  1. Bridget Donahue*
  2. David Zwirner
  3. Lehmann Maupin
  4. Lyles & King*
  5. Mary Boone Gallery*
  6. Miles McEnery Gallery
  7. Prince St. Gallery
  8. Rachel Uffner Gallery*

The galleries are in alphabetical order* - they all ranked equally given the number of exhibitions shown and their % of exhibitions showing work by female artists.

*Four galleries really hit it out of the park, while they only had three exhibitions during the half, 100% of them had at least one female artist. 

Mary Lynn Buchanan viewing Liza Yuskavage's painting at David Zwirner on the UES

David Zwirner and Prince St. Gallery trailed closely behind because while 75% of their exhibitions had at least one female artist (respectively) they had more exhibitions during those 6 months.

Exhibition by Liza Lao at Lehmann Maupin in Chelsea, New York

Top Neighborhoods

Now let’s see how we did by neighborhood...will Chelsea be more friendly to female artists than the LES?

  1. LES - 42%
  2. Chelsea - 41%
  3. Bushwick - 38%
  4. Queens -  33%
  5. UES - 29%
  6. East Village - 29%

Hmm so LES does seem to be more representative of ladies. HOWEVER Chelsea has so many more exhibitions than the LES (almost double) when you take that into consideration Chelsea’s 41% actually has a much bigger bang (more female artists being show).

Mary Lynn Buchanan at an exhibition by Mary Weatherford at Gagosian

Now...the Question You're all Asking - Who Fared the Worst? 

Not to point any fingers here (but I am). Many galleries (82 to be exact) had 0 female artists in their shows, however some, especially the smaller ones in Brooklyn had only one show last half. 

That being said the following galleries had 4 shows, with 0 female artists (tisk, tisk).

  1. Grimm
  2. Salon 94

Now don't go being too hard on them...this is only a 6 month period we're looking at so time will tell.

What I find to be a larger disappointment are big name galleries (and some of my absolute favorites). Especially since they have upwards of 7 exhibitions in a half (see below) and more opportunities than most to show works by female artists.

  1. Gagosian
  2. Pace
  3. Perrotin

These galleries had a lot of exhibitions....and not a lot of female artists.

Disclaimer: This is data that has been manually collected and is a sample - this does not represent every exhibition that has happened in New York City during the period of early June to end of December, 2018, that being said it is statistically significant so my hypothesis are validated.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns please email me at

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