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.
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.
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…
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),
10 April 2009