How large is the diversity gap in art museums' collections?
Fine Art

How large is the diversity gap in art museums’ collections?

Williams College-based study quantifies diversity issues in major U.S. art museums’ collections A new study by a team of mathematicians, statisticians, art scholars and art historians predominantly from Williams College has found an estimated 85 percent of artists in 18 major US museums’ collections were white. WILLIAMSTOWN — If someone said that major U.S. art museums have significant problems with gender and ethnicity representations in their collections, you might respond, "Duh." But you might not know that academia hasn’t done any large-scale quantification of that "duh." That is, until a team of mathematicians, statisticians, art scholars and art historians predominantly hailing from Williams College focused on 18 major U.S. institutions’ collections. Scraping and sampling digital collection records and making inferences through crowdsourcing methodology, the study’s authors and contributors found that an estimated 85 percent of artists in these museums’ collections were white, 87 percent were men and nearly 76 percent were white men. The study will be published in March in the journal PLOS One and has some important limitations, but the research is already available online and being shared via social media, amplifying the conversation surrounding diversity in various institutions’ halls. "It’s very much at the forefront of […]

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