The Artist Perspective: Guerrilla Girls

The Artist Perspective: Guerrilla Girls

The Art Perspective provides a visual and audio forum for artists to exhibit their art and present exciting responses to major themes of our day.

This edition, Activism, highlights the work of The Guerrilla Girls, who have combined their talents for art and activism, adding humor and in-your-face gutsiness, to counter the sexism in today’s art world.

I welcome feedback from online viewers: email to [email protected]

The Guerrilla Girls is a group of artists – not always the same — who work together. They are feminist masked avengers in the tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Wonder Woman and Batman, but their “cover” is the mask of a gorilla — itself a play on the word “guerrilla” as a radical, underground fighter and street theater performance style. Each participant takes the name of a dead artist.

Using original research, humor and outrageous visuals, The Guerrilla Girls expose discrimination and corruption in art, film, politics and pop culture. They disrupt mainstream thinking by using images and text to reveal the unfairness behind pleasantry and institutional facades.

From their first activities in 1985 to today, The Guerrilla Girls have stepped out in many creative ways. They’ve unveiled billboards criticizing the film industry in Hollywood just in time for the Oscars, mocked the Museum of Modern Art in New York for the small number of women artists that it displays (“Do women have to be naked to get in the Met?”) at its own Feminist Futures Symposium and a popular graphic, shown in the slides here. The Guerrilla Girls have also created large scale projects for the Venice Biennale, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, as well as in Istanbul, Mexico City, Athens, Rotterdam, Bilbao, Ireland, Sarajevo, Shanghai and Montreal.

Stickers, posters, street projects – all fall within The Guerrilla Girls’ repertoire. They have also authored several books, including The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art in 1998, Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls’ Guide to Female Stereotypes in 2003, and The Guerrilla Girls’ Art Museum Activity Book in 2004, including hot tips like “How to Write A Feminist Wall Label.”

Tireless supporters and fans pass around the work of The Guerrilla Girls, and they travel the world doing performances and workshops, encouraging thousands of people to invent their own creative activism, too.

Linda Stein is Art Editor of On the Issues Magazine. Her art is on tour in a three-year traveling solo exhibition called The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein. Recently, her 7-ft bronze sculpture has been sited at Portland State University in Oregon, and she is currently displaying an installation of five eight-feet windows in Downtown Crossing, Boston. Her focus on gender justice is also expressed through her non-profit organizaion Have Art:Will Travel! Inc, her website and YouTube videos.