Contemporary Art Prizes 2014
Art Prizes offer a chance at the jackpot in the exposure economy of contemporary art. Prizes data collected for this study reveals that overall women were selected 54% of the time as finalists, but how many applied? Data on the gender representation of applicants is not generally publicly available. In a 2009 post on The Basil Sellers Art Prize quoted statistics on the gender of applicants released by the prize organizers revealing that 39% were female artists who subsequently only made up 7% of the selected finalists. The Basil Sellers Art Prize established in 2008 awards $100,000 for an artwork addressing themes of art and sport and provides an affecting example of how male dominated narratives (like sport) can shape curatorial and conceptual underpinnings sidelining the value and contribution of female artists who for obvious reasons might not be championing sport in quite the same way as their male colleagues. While sport claims to be unifying and community minded the absence of women in this prize could perhaps tell a different story.

Our data collection on 76 Art Prizes in 2014 found 56% of the winners were female artists and 44% male artists, but also found that women received 47% and men 52% of the total prize pool of $1.35M – in this year on average women won $14,000 and men $23,000. A further case study showed that in the five richest prizes over the previous ten years; 12 women won 29% and 25 men won 64% of the total prize pool of $3.1m. In 2014 female artists won three of the major art prizes which considerably affected the overall positive outcome for women in this category. This is a standard we hope will continue.

the countess report
the countess report the countess report
Richest Art Prizes 2008 – 2015
This graph shows the prize monies awarded to artists in the five richest contemporary art prizes in Australia. Table 5 shows all the five richest prizes awarded over the previous [appox] 10 years. Each prize shows the significant difference between the amount of prize monies awarded to women and men.

Doug Moran National Portrait Prize awarded women 27% of the total prizes, Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize showed a small increase at 37% for women, McClelland Sculpture Prize 34% women, Basil Sellers Art Prize awarded 25% of the total prize pool to 1 female collaborative duo. The famous Archibald Prize for Portraiture has been won by 3 women over the past decade amounting to the most promising outcome for women at 40% of the total prize money awarded during this time (2008-15).
The Countess Report
The Countess Report