This is a shame. According to the ArtNews.com (my link is to the LA Times), one-third of all solo museum exhibits in the United States are by artists from five different galleries. In other words, there’s a lot of power in the hands of very, very few. That’s a clear lack of diversity in the US art world if I ever saw one.Sure, you can argue that there’s diversity in the art world still, just like you can argue there’s diversity in the workplace – until you walk into your company’s board room and suddenly realize that you either completely belong or you don’t at all.
I get it, there are too many artists out there. Museums can’t possibly show them all, or even a majority of them. But why do so few galleries get to control what becomes famous in the future or not. This question really hurts the art industry as a whole. When academics look back at major art museum exhibits, they are not going to see a proper representation of what is produced today. In fact, they won’t even see a proper representation of quality. All historians will see is what was decided to be commercially successful.
If we don’t want a lack of diversity in the US art world, then museums need to shut the galleries out and do more of their own homework.