How can the lack of visibility of women art makers in Dutch institutions be better acknowledged by decision-makers?

From this research I learned that three hundred years of Dutch history have shaped the lack of visibility of women art makers up until today. From the exclusion to education and workshops, limiting women’s possibilities to work as an artist and forcing them to rely on the generosity of men in their direct surrounding to be exposed to material and training.

Given the restricted circumstances women artists faced, they would find ways to create and often reside to other materials, such as paper. As a result of this materiality the amount of work by women available from that time is reduced even further. The limited amount of work available from women historically combined with the delicate materiality of their work is stressed as reason, or in my opinion excuse, to not be able to showcase their work in grand ways.

The exclusion has nothing to do with no women artists being available, or that they are forgotten, there is a systematic pattern of exclusion behind it. The dominant position of men over women in society affected the value assigned to the work made by women negatively. Even though some women in the seventeenth century sold work during life for higher prices than Rembrand sold his, their names seem to be vanished from history. Structural exclusion in archiving shows the privileged position in decision-making prioritizing men over women in a patriarchal society, carrying through in the digitalisation of these archives (Powell).

As Hessel mentions, topics were also restricted to women. Still life was considered a suitable subject, while topics with more public display with mythological or religious matters were available only to men (45).

With my project I aim for the recognition of the difference in visibility between the work made by men and women in Dutch art institutions and creating awareness of the structural exclusion behind it. To do so I take the subject of flower still life and the materiality of paper as main inspiration. With paper flowers I refer to the position of women created by patriarchal structures and behaviors in the Dutch society. My aim is to have decision-makers at Dutch art institutions be aware of potential unconscious patterns in decision-making that continue the structural exclusion of women’s visibility at their art institutions. Creating this awareness hopefully makes them take a more conscious approach in upcoming decisions and actions by decision-makers in art institutions to change these patterns and structural exclusion.

Based on my research I believe the key to change lies mostly in the hands of those selecting and buying works for galleries and musea. The increased awareness can change the way they look at art history and their current portfolio.

In conclusion, decision-makers at Dutch art institutions can better acknowledge the lack of visibility of contemporary women makers by reviewing their potential assumptions of what, or rather who, is important and how this is rooted in the patriarchal art history in the Netherlands. With this awareness they can review their own decision-making criteria for curations or purchasing art works. And if needed they can be proactive in changing the structural exclusion of the past in their future decisions.  

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google