Despite the common belief that art galleries will naturally become more gender equitable over time, the fact is that many art institutions in Canada have become even less so over the last decade, with female artists making up less than 25 per cent of the contemporary exhibitions of several major galleries. In the first large-scale overview of gender diversity in Canadian art exhibitions, Anne Dymond makes a persuasive plea for more consciously equitable curating. Drawing on data from nearly one hundred institutions, Diversity Counts reveals that while some galleries are relatively equitable, many continue to marginalize female and racialized artists. The book pursues an interdisciplinary approach, considering the art world's resistance to numeric data, discourses on representation and identity, changing conceptualizations of institutional responsibility over time, and different ways particular institutions manage inclusion and exclusion. A thoughtful examination of the duty of public galleries to represent underserved communities, Dymond's study bravely navigates the unspoken criteria for acceptance in the curatorial world. Demonstrating how important hard data is for inclusivity, Diversity Counts is a timely analysis that brings the art world up to date on progressive movements for social transformation.
Anne Dymond is associate professor in art history and museum studies at the University of Lethbridge.
"Dymond gives artists and contemporary arts practitioners in Canada the numbers that allow us to assess what we have achieved and where we are failing, providing a baseline for the future. Her engagingly written and sympathetic account speaks to the gap between feminist theory and practice, offering compelling arguments for working to diversify the canon." Diana Nemiroff, University of Ottawa and former curator at The National Gallery of Canada