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Political Life Imitates Art: Guerrilla Girls Archive Goes to The Getty Musuem April 10, 2009

Guerrilla Girls poster entitled: HOW WOMEN GET MAXIMUM EXPOSURE IN ART MUSEUMS

1989 Guerrilla Girls poster entitled: HOW WOMEN GET MAXIMUM EXPOSURE IN ART MUSEUMS


The Guerrilla Girls love to use the “F” word. FEMINISM

As an archivist and lover of women’s herstory, I am ecstatic to see the Guerrilla Girls Archive placed in the capable hands of the curators at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. The Guerrilla Girls are a radical activist group of artists who are feminists. The group formed during the mid 1980′s. The members were all anonymous and would dress up in gorilla masks, miniskirts and fishnet stockings while plastering posters all over New York City. The posters were often graphically artistic with eye catching phrases which decried misogyny and discrimination against women and minority artists. The Guerrilla Girls also assume the names of deceased famous female artists. Their name is a play on guerrilla warfare.

Why would women need to be engaged in mortal combat with those of the opposite sex?  The patriarchy of course!!!

Despite their founding over two decades ago, the Guerrilla Girls are still not monkeying around. They continue to this day and after the 2008 election cycle witch hunt of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, boy could we still use some primal fear.

Copyright © 2003 by Guerrilla Girls, Inc. "The Senate is doing better than the film industry! 14% of US Senators are female (the highest percentage in history, although still paltry). 4% of directors of 2002's top 100 films are female.  In fact, even the interim government of Afghanistan is more progressive than Hollywood. 6% of the interim cabinet members are women!"

Copyright © 2003 by Guerrilla Girls, Inc. "The Senate is doing better than the film industry! 14% of US Senators are female (the highest percentage in history, although still paltry). 4% of directors of 2002's top 100 films are female. In fact, even the interim government of Afghanistan is more progressive than Hollywood. 6% of the interim cabinet members are women!"

Guerrilla Girls in action

Guerrilla Girls in action

The archive is said to contain over 30 boxes of posters and documents with inclusive dates of 1985-2000. As the group progressed into the new millennium, they began to challenge discrimination against women and minorities in the film industry.

birthoffeminism

2002 Billboard designed by Guerrilla Girls. They wanted the "golden boy" to look more like the guys who take him home at the awards ceremony each year,

2002 Billboard designed by Guerrilla Girls. They wanted the "golden boy" to look more like the guys who take him home at the awards ceremony each year,

I admire the Guerrilla Girls but they certainly also have their critics.
Nancy Burns, professor of political science at U of Michigan has a similar view on the Guerilla Girls stating :

“It’s really a problem to set up a list of artists that are ‘feminist’ when the only thing all of them share is a vagina – these kind of assumptions of lumping women together simply because they’re women is everything that’s wrong with feminist thinking today.

Where was the above quote during the 2008 primaries and general election?

The archivist/curator in me loves that this collection will be available for researchers of women’s history but the conservative in me knows that I would not necessarily be one of the Guerrilla Girls favorite fans because of my political leanings. Or perhaps I am guilty of committing the three P’s: paranoid, presumptuous, prejudiced.

I would love to have a banana smoothie with the Guerrilla Girls and talk art, feminism and politics but would they accept my politics? I do have a vagina so does that count for anything? And give me two bonus points because I am African American. Still, something tells me that the Guerrilla Girls would pound me into chocolate banana pudding…

Guerrilla Girl Poster. Copyright © 1992, 1995 by Guerrilla Girls

Guerrilla Girl Poster. Copyright © 1992, 1995 by Guerrilla Girls

A letter to Santa, from a Guerrilla Girls' workshop with students at the University of Michigan, November 2002. Copyright 2002 Guerrilla Girls

A letter to Santa, from a Guerrilla Girls' workshop with students at the University of Michigan, November 2002. Copyright 2002 Guerrilla Girls

Alright Guerrilla Girls this “Conservative” “neocon” can take a hint but I will still admire your commitment to feminism and art from a far.

I urge you all to checkout the Guerrilla Girl Archive if you get a chance. Whether liberal or conservative you have to admit that it is quite an amazing display of activism as art.

Also visit the Guerrilla Girl website: http://www.guerillagirls.com/index.shtml

Autographed Letter Signed (ALS),
AFROCITY

10 April 2009

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6 Responses to “Political Life Imitates Art: Guerrilla Girls Archive Goes to The Getty Musuem”

  1. garychapelhill Says:

    Love the guerilla girls! I don’t care if you’re conservative or liberal, you have to admit that they kick ass. I just hope that being showcased at The Getty doesn’t mean they have become mainstream.

  2. CAROL HAKA Says:

    Great Stuff!

    CAROL HAKA :evil:

  3. boldandbald Says:

    The photo that I find the most interesting here is the one of the billboard comparing Hollywood and the Senate. The thing that seems to escape them is that in 2003 the Senate was controlled by the Republicans. Hollywood was, and still is, dominated by Democrats. Maybe they need to switch up their alliances. I know, that will never happen.

  4. manbearpig68 Says:

    They have a great ability through their art but like many young people they blindly target republicans. Look at the last major decision by the DNC, Dumbass man over Hillary!! Hillary can run rings around Obama yet he is the Chosen one by the Democrats because he resembles a man. Real Equality!!! It’s on both sides of the table so hit it all!!

  5. afrocity Says:

    Boldnball, I love your new avatar. Hmmm I don’t know which one is sexier, your or Manbearpig68. /

  6. doppelganglander Says:

    The non-sequiturs, false assumptions, poor logic, and lack of historical perspective in these posters prevents me from taking anything Guerilla Girls have to say seriously. For example, are they aware of the apprenticeship system in the Renaissance art world? Girls couldn’t become apprentices — could that have something to do with why there are many more male artists in museums? They don’t seem capable of making a distinction between practices of 500 years ago and the present day. I suspect if you looked at the contents of only modern art museums, you’d find a better balance.

    Now, do not get me started on the idiocy of the poster about “controlling women’s bodies.” Liberal Hollywood is the home of the fakest women in America, and they’re worried because Republican women wear make-up? Non-sequitur much?


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