Guerrilla girls are a group of artists defending women’s rights, they also defend human rights for all genders and all origins. The group was founded in New York in 1985.
The movement started through a collective of American Artists against museums because of the discrimination over female artists and their underrepresentation. Fifteen years later, it became an activist movement thanks to offshoots of the group such as GuerrillaGirlsBroadBand and Guerrilla Girls on Tour Incorporations. These women consider themselves as « the conscience of the art world. »
The group wears gorilla masks and use dead female artists names as pseudonyms to stay anonymous. Their anonymity allows the audience to focus on their message rather than on their individual identity avoiding any bias. They could be anyone and anywhere so that the issues would be more relatable for everyone. Irony and humor are used through outrageous visuals. A rather catchy method for exposing gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture.
When the Guerrilla Girls were asked whether they would one day reveal their true identity to the public they replied : “We’d love to take those masks off, but would anyone listen to us without them? We discovered that the art world takes feminists more seriously when they use humor and wear a gorilla disguise. Pathetic! We think of it as our masc-ulinity.“
Hundreds of projects have been undertaken (posters, actions, books, videos, stickers) all over the world to denounce inequalities in the art world. At museums, exhibitions and interventions are lead by the group. Their purpose is “blasting them on their own walls for their bad behavior and discriminatory practices”.
Guerrilla Girls want to speak up for intersectional feminism that fights discrimination and supports human rights for all people and all genders. They undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and expose injustice.
Street art posts such as these posters in New York streets are their main tool to report discrimination and unequal representations. Facts are given with numbers as to show the seriousness of the situation despite years passing by.
They denounced the ubiquity of nude women in music videos through an exposition of William Pharrell G.I.R.L.S in Paris in 2016. The poster used is an edited version of their legendary poster attacking museums integrity.
« One of our goals is to reinvent the « f » word – feminism. Our message: find your own crazy, creative way to be a feminist and an activist. » – Guerrilla Girls
“We want to be subversive, to transform our audience, to confront them with some disarming statements, backed up by facts – and great visuals – and hopefully convert them.” – Guerrilla Girls
The Guerrilla Girls are nowhere near their ultimate goal which is equality in art for all human beings so stay tuned for more interventions with their own creative style of complaining and resisting against the society’s views over minorities.