May 12, 2021
October 25, 2021
Over 35 years ago, a group of anonymous women artists and activists began a campaign to spread information and create awareness around racial and gender iniquities in the art world. Calling themselves “Guerrilla Girls” after the style of warfare that uses military tactics like ambushes, sabotages, and hit-and-run gambits, the art collective armed themselves with facts and statistics to challenge the hegemony of the art establishment, taking aim at art museums and galleries, and the people who run and support them. Their art and activism took the form of wheatpaste posters, stickers, and other projects that papered New York City’s streets, subways, and the facades of its most famous art museums with information about the systematic exclusion of women artists and artists of color from collections, criticism, and exposure. Since 1985, the group has completed over 100 street projects, posters, and stickers all over the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Mexico City, Istanbul, London, Bilbao, Rotterdam, and Shanghai. Their guerrilla approach to presenting information is disruptive, provocative, and at times, confrontational. The success of the Guerrilla Girls’ method is in the way they distill information down to easily digestible graphics and figures. A simple message, bold graphics, and hard facts and figures: this is how the Guerrilla Girls grab their viewers’ attention and create awareness around such critical issues as the number of women artists represented in the gallery system or artists of color in permanent collections.