Helen Gørrill

Portfolio: Books


“Written with infectious zeal, Women Can't Paint is a resounding riposte to those scholars, artists, curators, collectors and institutions who yet attempt to hide their chauvinism behind the veneer of 'quality'. Packed full of substantial facts and figures, the book insists that readers examine the ways in which value in the arts has been constructed to exclude women, artists of color and work that resides beyond the limits of a very narrow and Eurocentric canon. While it is possible that Gorrill's polemical study will anger some, it is highly probable that it will empower many others to make changes long overdue.” ]–  Marsha Meskimmon, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Theory, Loughborough University, UK. 


This book is long overdue and fills the massive gaps in our understanding of different positions taken in relation to women’s work e.g. ‘Difference’ as opposed to ‘Hybridity’, ‘Material experience & financial value in relation to, Psychological experience, Class & Practical politics, Financial value as opposed to Experiential value. The latter being a particular focus of this publication and very important now that the Art Market has become like the Gold Standard a method by which we judge the value of art works. This book is going to provoke a lot of debate and will be of great value to MA & post grad students in the visual arts. I recommend everyone to read this book” – Margaret Harrison.



What would Helen Gorrill say about Indian representation at Art Basel Hong Kong? Gorrill, a British art historian, is the is the author of the much-anticipated book Women Can’t Paint: Gender, The Glass Ceiling And Values In Contemporary Art, a title no doubt inspired by the German painter Georg Baselitz’ infamous statement. In The Guardian last year, she noted that the Tate appears to have a 30% cap on its collection of female artists, which “perpetuates the dominance of male artists in the collections.  Everyone from Gorrill to the Guerrilla Girls has warned against the dangers of tokenism.’

- Mint, Indian national press.



‘Although news about Tate’s upcoming exhibitions signals good news for those advocating for more women in museums, it doesn’t address the institution’s notorious collecting habits. Writing for The Guardian last year, Helen Gørrill observed: While Tate appears to have a 30% cap on the collection of female artists, its allocation of annual budget is even worse, with as little as 13% spent on works by female artists in recent years. This perpetuates the dominance of male artists in the collections and suppresses the value of women’s work. It has been proved that Tate’s collections affect the art market — its former director Alan Bowness even wrote book on the subject. In her article, Gørrill also notes that Tate “fails to mention gender or equality in its collection policy, seeking only to collect works of art of outstanding quality as well as works of distinctive aesthetic character or importance.” – Hyperallergic.



‘Artist, curator and art historian Helen Gørrill identifies an apparent cap of 30 percent on Tate London’s collection of women artists and an allocation of only 13 percent of its annual budget for the collection of their work in recent years. This, notes Gørrill, will have a marked negative impact on future understandings of who produced art in the twenty-first century. “The museum preaches diversity”, writes Gørrill “but its annual acquisitions suggest that great art is mostly created by men” –

Monthly Review, New York.


  ‘New book claims the Tate perpetuates the dominance of male artists’

Artnet News.