“Reinventing the “F” word: Feminism!”
– Guerilla Girls Motto
The Guerilla Girls are an activist group started in the 1980’s that focused on feminism and inequality and bringing female artists into the light. Their objective is to make a change in the art world and its corrupt ideas.
Their most famous pieces aren’t exactly what you’d call art, but that’s the whole point. They want their voices to be heard and the current issues of sexism and racism to be prominently displayed for the world to see. They stay anonymous to not have the focus be on them per se, but on the points they are trying to get across. Their propaganda addresses things like: “Definition of a Hypocrite”, “What to Expect When You’re Raped on Campus”, and “How Many Women Had One-Person Exhibitions Last Year?”. Their whole idea is that they have to say something outlandish, and sometimes humorous, to get people’s attention. My personal favorites are “When Racism and Sexism Are No Longer Fashionable, What Will Your Art Collection Be Worth?” and “Do Women Have to Be Naked to Get into the Met. Museum?”, because it’s something that most people don’t think about right away when thinking of certain artists or collections.
The Guerrilla Girls prerogative has made many changes in the art world since they were established. Remaining anonymous by wearing gorilla masks and taking on the names of past famous female artists (Frida Kahlo, etc.) has set aside their own identities for a greater cause. Although they may be focused on feminism, they just wish to make the world equal for everyone, in art and otherwise. Aside from posters and billboards they have organized countless exhibitions and have participated in some other actions going towards the cause. In 1987 they critiqued artists exhibitions at the Whitney Museum in New York, and in 2011 they critiqued a show in Chicago, called “Guerrilla Girls to Museums: Time for Gender Reassignment”, where they pointed out the lack of gender difference in collections of contemporary art.
I admire the Guerilla Girls and the tactics they use to present the crooked perspective of society. This idea of using art to start movements became extremely popular in the 1960s and evolved into a distinct genre of art. The success of the Guerilla Girls has made it possible for so many artists, women and otherwise, have the ability to make important art and actually show it in public museums. They make have more work to do but everything they’ve done has made such an incredible difference in the world; their accomplishments are inspiring.
An excerpt from their artists statement:
“The Guerilla Girls are feminist activist artists. We wear gorilla masks in public and use facts, humor, and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture. Our anonymity keeps the focus on the issues, and away from who we might be; we could be anyone and we are everywhere. We believe in an intersection feminism that fights discrimination and supports human rights for all people and all genders…What’s next: More creative complaining!! More interventions!! More resistance!!”
“Guerrilla Girls.” Guerrilla Girls, Guerrilla Girls, Inc., www.guerrillagirls.com/.
Tate. “Who Are the Guerrilla Girls? – Who Are They?” Tate Kids, Tate,
“National Museum of Women in the Arts.” Guerrilla Girls | National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2011, nmwa.org/explore/artist-profiles/guerrilla-girls.