Today's Inspiration- The Guerrilla Girls

by - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 Since we are focusing on female friendship this week, I have been thinking a lot about feminist collaborators and the art they make (this feels all the more relevant with the womenagainstfeminism hashtag that is killing my soul).  You can't talk about feminist collaboration without talking about the Guerilla Girls. This group of anonymous female artists (they wore the gorilla masks to hide their identities) formed in the mid-80's to bring attention to the race and gender inequality in art institutions. A specific show at MoMA- "An International Survey of Recent Painting and Scultpure"- claimed to display the most important and comprehensive sense of where contemporary art was going, but less than 10% of the artists shown were women. The Guerrilla Girls started by producing posters like these:

 When the Guerrilla Girls began, these kinds of points weren't being made in any systematic way, and they made the treatment of women within the arts impossible to deny. You can read plenty of speculation and rumors about who the artists in this (continuing to work) collective are, but the truth is that the group has probably expanded and changed over the 3 decades it has been working. You can read about their 30 year retrospective (as well as their current projects) on their website-

This political and artistic group has changed the art world because it is a collective effort. These women can be seen as a singular complaining voice because many work together (and their anonymity maintains their symbolic status- they stand for all excluded female artists). They are credited with "sparking dialogue, but you can statistically seen that things have gotten better (if not good enough). I know they spread to various cities, as I just read about the Seattle contigent showing up for a show at CoCA in 1996, and they also seem to have grown into 3 separate groups with diverging goals. To me, their work speaks to the power of collective feminine efforts and how they avoid the tokenism and accusations of narcissism that female artists still regularly face. And their masks are awesome.

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