Gorrill argues that, despite Tate’s PR fanfare about acquiring work by female artists, the spend in the annual budget for work by women appears to be capped at 30%, while actual spend has been only 13% in recent years. Gorrill points out that Tate’s acquisition policy does not mention gender or equality, and that token works by artists such as the Guerrilla Girls are then touted as an indication of their policy of supporting women’s art.
Gorrill argues that the Tate Gallery acquisitions strategy is weighted in favour of male artists and their work. Shockingly, she has found that not only is gender equality far from a reality, we’ve gone backwards. She says:
“female creatives are less likely to succeed now than they were in the 1990s. Today, when men’s artwork is signed, it goes up in value; conversely when work by women is signed, it goes down in value, and the addition of a woman’s signature can devalue artwork to the extent that female artists are more likely to leave their work unsigned.”
Tate’s appointment of Frances Morris was portrayed as a great thing for women and international artists, who would have much greater representation, in tandem with the opening of Switch House (now renamed Blavatnik Building after the USSR born billionaire donor). However, at the opening of the Tate Modern extension in June 2016, the activist group Where is Ana Mendieta demonstrated outside and within the galley at the lack of inclusion of work both by women of colour as well as by the Cuban artist Ana Mendieta, while exhibiting work by Carl Andre. Andre and Mendieta were married, Andre was acquitted of her murder after she was killed from the fall from the window of their New York apartment in 1985 during an argument. While Tate owns work by Mendieta, it does not exhibit these works in the public galleries.