By DeeDee Hughes, Staff Writer
A recent study conducted by Michigan State University has shown that there are significant differences in the way men and women purchase art. In the study, 518 people were told to view two paintings created by different fictional artists and then read their false biographies. One of the biographies described the artist as more established and genuine, while the other described the artist as a beginner.
The results? Men tended to like or dislike the work of art based on the brand name, and thus were more inclined to purchase a piece of art based on the persona of the artist. In contrast, women put more emphasis on the work of art itself and spent more time analyzing the pieces presented. However, there is no scientific or neurological reason for these differences.
Without more substantial evidence, this study seems more like another reason for gender equality fanatics to fuel the fight between the sexes as opposed to breaking down the methods of art buying. Granted, there is very little information and analysis on the ways people buy art, but this study does not seem to indicate any strong correlation between gender and process of buying art.
The bottom line is, buying art is a personal experience for everyone. People buy art for many reasons and to try to differentiate the process for men and women is uncalled for and unfounded.
However, there is a duality to this study that reveals more than just the gender differences in context of the art market, and the second aspect of it is far more engaging than the first. The findings conclude that the visibility and persona of the artist is, in many ways, just as important as the artwork itself.
While I do not necessarily agree that this should be the case, it presents an interesting idea. Artists then face a greater challenge than simply producing sellable art: they must learn to sell themselves.