The Guerrilla Girls are feminist masked righter’s of wrongs who use facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose sexism, racism, and corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture. They use “culture jamming,” a form of disruption that plays on viewers emotions, to spark conversation. They try to attract their audience with their unique text and graphics that present feminist viewpoints in a humorous style.
The Guerrilla Girls were created after several women attended an art show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and discovered the majority of featured artists were men. Out of a concern for the under-representation of women in modern art the Guerrilla Girls were formed. In the inception they designed posters, for the streets of New York, expressing strong disapproval of the gender and racial imbalance of artists represented in galleries and museums.
Established in 1985, their name was chosen to relate with the fear of guerrilla warfare and make people afraid of whom they might be. They call themselves “girls” instead of “women” to reclaim the belittling usage of the word. Their gorilla disguise was introduced at one of their first meeting, when an original member misspelled "guerrilla" as "gorilla." When performing they take the names of deceased female artists as pseudonyms.
Members claim no one knows their identities, with the exception of close family members. The actual group membership has never been revealed and the group suggests there are supporters all over the world.
The Guerrilla Girls became noticed in 1989 with their poster campaign asking, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?" After counting the number of male and female nudes in the artwork at the Metropolitan Museum, they found 85% of the nudes were female. This poster came to existence after they were asked to design a billboard for the Public Art Fund in New York. Their poster idea was rejected, so they advertised on New York City buses.
Since those early days the Guerrilla Girls have preformed over 200 performances and workshops around the world. They also have published several posters, stickers, advertised in creative ways (on buses, in bathrooms), and have written five books, the most recent "The Hysterical Herstory of Hysteria and How it Was Cured From Ancient Times Until Now." Their most popular book is an art history book, The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art, which has been used in college curriculums. In an interview from NPR’s Fresh Air a Guerrilla Girl said, “We never imagined that we would become a model for feminist activists and would become part of women’s and gender studies curriculums all over the world!”
The Guerrilla Girls continue to be leaders for feminists transforming mass media with their use of sarcasm and ridicule. A quote from the Guerrilla Girls web site, “It’s our honest hope that all this attention to our work and the issues we raise adds up to changes for women artists and artists of color."
The Guerrilla Girls will be performing in the McFarland Student Union Room 218 March 20th!
Buy their book and bring it to the event for the Guerrilla Girls to Sign!!!!