Undress for The Met

A two-part visualization breaking down the subjective representation of women at The Met, inspired by The Guerrilla Girls work, Do Women have to be Naked to get into The Met.

Data Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Open Access CSV
Tools: Adobe Photoshop / Adobe Illustrator / CSS / D3 / HTML / JavaScript
Resource: The Met’s blog post about the partnership can be found here.

30 years since the inception of The Guerrilla Girls infamous poster, I began to question if The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) has progressed. Does gender inequality and female subjectification still stand true?  In a two-part project, I explored this topic by creating an interactive desktop-based data visualization and infographic word map.

The desktop-based visualization was developed in partnership with Parsons School of Design. In both quantitative and qualitative ways, I visualized the proportion of female nudes in The Met’s entire collection and the number of acquisitions by female artists from The Modern and Contemporary collection. When presenting the data visualization to The Met’s digital department, it was noted that the topic of gender is integral to the discourse of the museum’s curatorial staff. This sparked my curiosity even more, how are they approaching this topic? Are there more artworks by female artists on display than of female nudes?

Expanding on this dataset and topic, I created an infographic word-map of the artworks on display (May 2020), comparing artworks of female nudes to artworks by female artists, in The Modern and Contemporary Collection. Each graphical element was purposely chosen to create a visual taxonomy. Black represents artworks containing female nudes, while pink represents artworks by female artists. The size of the typography is reflective of the acquisition date. The typography is ordered vertically by the date of artwork creation and it’s placed vertically in alphabetical order. 

This infographic highlighted that The Met’s actions are true; there are more artworks by female artists on display than nudes artworks of women, in The Modern and Contemporary Collection. While The Met’s curatorial staff is bringing this topic to the forefront, this is only one part of their collection and the representation of women in art is a systemic issue that needs to be continued to be addressed. I am grateful to have worked with The Met on the first part of the project and created these visualizations as a means to contribute to this topic.