Fierce feminist masked avengers,The Guerrilla Girls are a force to be reckoned with. Anonymous activists exposing sexism, racism, and corruption in art, politics and pop culture. Artists and authors of sky high billboards, stickers, bold banners, posters, street art and several books that command attention. Storming the art world and snatching headlines since 1985 using powerful facts, humour and outrageous visuals. The Guerrilla Girls continue to strip back and reveal the gritty understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair.
1980s New York moved us to do something.
MOMA had an exhibition with only 13 out of 169 artists being woman – there were even fewer of colour. In 1985 85% of the nudes displayed, and 5% of the exhibited artists at MOMA were women. We held a demonstration outside and realised that nobody cared – no matter what we were trying to say. There had to be a way that was more visually savvy to approach the issue so that people couldn’t discount what was happening.
There are so many different strata in the art world.
Artists see us and love us, curators see us and are curious about us. Dealers and art collectors I think wish we would go away. We don’t exist in their strata at all. We’ve bypassed them and jumped you know from the day to day life of collective artists that go into the institutions, and that’s fine by us. Because we don’t produce a product that they can fetishise and turn into a valuable thing.
History is richer that what we are taught.
Maybe collectors are still the exception but dealers and gallerists used to say things like, “Well women and people of colour just don't make the kind of work that’s part of the art world dialogue”. No one would be so stupid as to say that anymore. That has changed forever. It’s become quite clear that history is much richer than the art history that we read about in books or see in art galleries. How can you tell the art history of a global culture with only the work of white men. That’s not the real history of art…. that's the history of wealth and power.
Art is an investment.
Super rich collectors open their own museums so they can control them – but they also exert their influence on public institutions, and that never used to be the case. So art has become capitalist investment – we want to ask the larger question, which is “Can you really have a situation [where someone influences a public space] without a conflict of interest.” We wanted to ask the museums the question “Can we allow the system to tell us our history.” If that answer is yes then, “What are the problems with a history that is created by the taste, and the money and the wealth and power, of a few!”
We are not sure what taste is, or if it exists.
We don't think too much about whether there's such a thing as good taste or bad taste, but there's definitely bad behaviour.