Women Can't Paint: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art by Helen Gorrill (Royal Academy of Arts, UK)
In 2013 Georg Baselitz declared that 'women don't paint very well'. Whilst shocking, his comments reveal what Helen Gorrill argues is prolific discrimination in the artworld. In a groundbreaking study of gender and value, Gorrill proves that there are few aesthetic differences in men and women's painting, but that men's art is valued at up to 80 per cent more than women's. Indeed, the power of masculinity is such that when men sign their work it goes up in value, yet when women sign their work it goes down. Museums, the author attests, are also complicit in this vicious cycle as they collect tokenist female artwork which impinges upon its artists' market value. An essential text for students and teachers, Gorrill's book is provocative and challenges existing methodologies whilst introducing shocking evidence. She proves how the price of being a woman impacts upon all forms of artistic currency, be it social, cultural or economic and in the vanguard of the 'Me Too' movement calls for the artworld to take action.