CoUNTess is always interested in where the money is being spent when it comes to promoting what artists are hot, sizzling, current and, most importantly, "now". In time for holiday shopping, Art and Australia have released a new coffee table hard cover book they call CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Australia and New Zealand. After reading its exciting intro, we thought we would check it out.
Current: Contemporary Art from Australia and New Zealand is the first comprehensive survey of all that is cutting edge in Australian and New Zealand contemporary practice. In a landmark publication, the book features eighty artists, carefully chosen to best reflect the vibrancy of art of the moment. While Current could be seen as a hot list of contemporary taste in the tradition of Taschen’s Art Now, inclusivity is the book’s abiding theme. Current is also underpinned by scholarship with commissioned essays by the region’s leading writers and curators.
CoUNTess got to spend some time browsing the CURRENT 'Table of Contents', a list of the text's carefully chosen artists, and discovered that the editors idea of "comprehensive" falls a little short when it comes to women artists. "Inclusivity" as an "abiding theme" of the book seems a bit far-fetched in this regard as well. At the CoUNTess offices we got talking about how 'cutting edge' used to mean something was radical, operating outside the system and how if this was still the case, CURRENT would be full of women artists. So, we consulted a common online dictionary and they all agreed that "cutting edge" is defined as being at the forefront, in the position of greatest advancement. That sounds like a pleasant place to be. Secure. Not that edgy at all? We decided we must have been thinking of the bleeding edge
Not only is CURRENT's balance way off, but also it seems this publications editors and commissioned essayists of leading writers and curators didn't think it was worth noting that the majority of artists in the book are men, or explaining this phenomenon.
This is what the numbers say: Women 28.75%, Men 67.5%, Couple Collaborations 2.5%, Other Collaborations 1.25%