“In response, artist and data journalist Mona Chalabi offered her version of what the composition of a museum collection should look like if it were to represent the entire population.
In recent years, museums in the United States have been moving toward diversifying their permanent collections to remediate the historical underrepresentation of non-male and non-white artists.
However, a recent study shows that American museums still have a long way to go in diversifying their collections, as they remain overwhelmingly white and male. The study was conducted by a group of mathematicians, statisticians, and art historians at Williams College (Chad M. Topaz, Bernhard Klingenberg, Daniel Turek, Brianna Heggeseth, Pamela E. Harris, Julie C. Blackwood, C. Ondine Chavoya), together with Kevin M. Murphy, senior curator of American and European Art at Williams College Museum of Art, and Steven Nelson, professor of African and African American Art at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The researchers surveyed the collections of 18 major US museums to quantify the gender, ethnic, and racial composition of the artists represented in their collections. Its findings came from a rigorous dive into the public online catalogues of these museums, deploying a sample of 10,000 artist records comprising over 9,000 unique artists to crowdsourcing, and analyzing 45,000 responses, to infer artist genders, ethnicities, geographic origins, and birth decades….”
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