Group of feminist artists. Established in New York City in 1984 and is known for using guerrilla tactics (especially guerrilla art) to promote women in the arts. Members of the original group always wear gorilla masks and often, but not always, miniskirts and fishnet stockings while appearing as Guerrilla Girls. They proclaim that no one, not even their husbands, boyfriends, and families, knows their identities, except, they joke, their hairdressers. They also refuse to state how many Girls there are in total. Their membership is unknown, but has now grown to include members worldwide, including both British and French sectors .
WANT TO EARN BIG MONEY IN THE ART WORLD? Women have never gained economic equality by just working hard and being good girls. With this poster we wanted to make women artists angry as hell and not willing to take it anymore. 1985 What is the strategy of the Guerilla Girls here?
1995 Why would The Guerrilla Girls choose to remain anonymous? When we did this poster in 1989, we wanted to make art collectors nervous about their choices. We also wanted them to know what a bargain the art of women is!
“ We decided to be anonymous in the beginning because we wanted the focus to be on the issues, not on our personalities or our work.
But at this point in our careers it doesn’t really matter, except the mystery is so seductive. If you had the choice of talking with Superman or Clark Kent who would you pick.”
Why would The Guerrilla Girls choose to remain anonymous?
Strategies employed by the Guerilla Girls:
Advertisements in Art Magazines and Newspapers –Many actually name names and wag fingers at the most white male-centric curators and institutions.
Secret letters to [sexist] gallery owners and art critics.
Infiltration of Art Hierarchies with ‘spot-on’ stickers.
Wear Gorilla masks in Public and answer to names of often unrecognised dead female artists.
In private –go about their lives as artists, curators, art historians.
HOW WOMEN GET MAXIMUM EXPOSURE IN ART MUSEUMS Asked to design a billboard for the Public Art Fund in New York, we welcomed the chance to do something that would appeal to a general audience. One Sunday morning we conducted a "weenie count" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, comparing the number of nude males to nude females in the artworks on display. The results were very "revealing." The PAF said our design wasn't clear enough (????) and rejected it. We then rented advertising space on NYC buses and ran it ourselves, until the bus company canceled our lease, saying that the image, based on Ingres' famous Odalisque, was too suggestive and that the figure appeared to have more than a fan in her hand. DO YOU THINK THINGS HAVE GOTTEN BETTER SINCE OUR FIRST COUNT IN 1989?
In the spring of 1997, Margit Rowell, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, organized a show called "Objects of Desire: the Modern Still Life." Our supporters sent her thousands of these cards urging her to change the title to "The Objects of MOMA's Desires are Still White Males." She never relented or added more women artists or male artists of colour, but every art review of the exhibition noted her discriminating ways.
The Guerrilla Girls Bedside Companion
to the History of Western Art
Elevates cage-bar rattling to a fine art.”— The New York Times Book Review
Take a romp through the last two thousand years of Western Art with the Guerrilla Girls as your guides. Find answers to questions like these: Who put all those naked men in the classical sections of museums? Why did nuns have more fun in medieval times? Did a girl have to cross dress for success in the 19th century? How far does a female have to go from her home to become an artist? Why were the modern Masters more interested in painting prostitutes than Suffragettes? Read about the fascinating lives of the women artists who were able to make it, despite incredible social obstacles and sexist art historians.
1990 OH, THOSE SPECIAL MONTHS OF THE YEAR! Assigning commemorative months to social issues has become another form of tokenism. This poster is a favourite on university campuses where African Americans and women always get art shows in February and March.
Other Strategies What other issues do the Guerrilla Girls confront? “ Continuing the crusade against discrimination with 'facts, humour and fake fur”
WHAT ARE TRADITIONAL VALUES ON ABORTION? AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THIS POSTER, IT DEPENDS.
Guerrilla Girls carried this poster in a pro-choice march on Washington D.C., urging right-to-lifers—and the Catholic Church, “to repent their sinful, modern ideas”.
Recently, the Guerilla Girls ventured to the Oscars, where their "inside agents" stuck stickers onto the backs of Hollywood's tuxedo/gown-clad elite. The stickers remarked glibly that Hollywood is even more sexist than the US government, exposing alarmingly low percentages of working female directors and filmmakers.
ANTI-HOLLYWOOD STICKERS Too-skinny actresses are just part of the problem in Hollywood. Help us send a message to the movie moguls by downloading the stickers at right, xeroxing them onto adhesive labels and putting them up all over town—especially in movie theater bathrooms. 2001
Guerrilla Girls created a series of works addressing gender and racial imbalances at the Venice Biennale. Aside from Egypt and Morocco, no African countries are represented in the Biennale. The entire continent grouped into one exhibition
THE WOMEN'S TERROR ALERT A satirization of Bush's colour-coded terror alert system. Chart lists some of the terrible things his administration is doing to erode women's rights. Originally did this poster to accompany an article called "Bush's War on Women."
2002 GEORGE HAS BEEN A GOOD BOY A letter to Santa, from a Guerrilla Girls' workshop with students at the University of Michigan, November 2002. Watch for it on the streets of Ann Arbor, along with other projects.