A selection of posters from the 1980s and 1990s by the anonymous collective targets museums, galleries, curators, writers, and artists seen as either responsible for or complicit in the exclusion of women and non-white artists from mainstream exhibitions and publications.
About Track 10: The Guerrilla Girls
An anonymous collective, the Guerrilla Girls conceal their identities by wearing gorilla masks in public and assuming pseudonyms taken from such important female artists of the past as Hannah Höch, Frida Kahlo, and Käthe Kollwitz. They formed as a reaction to An International Survey of Painting and Sculpture, a 1984 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in which work by women artists represented less than 10% of the exhibition. The following year, the group began a poster campaign targeting museums, galleries, curators, writers, and artists whom they felt were either responsible for or complicit in the exclusion of women and non-white artists from mainstream exhibitions and publications. 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.
Selected from the Guerrilla Girls’ Portfolio Compleat 1985–2012 with Upgrade 2012–2016, the posters offer a critique of the double bind faced in the art world by women artists and artists of color. Collectors cannot buy what they do not see, and galleries will not show what they think they cannot sell. Likewise, collectors and galleries look to museums for confirmations of quality and relevance, but museums may be slow to show work that is not already familiar from exposure in galleries and private collections.
As the Nasher Sculpture Center builds upon the rich and extensive foundation provided by Raymond and Patsy Nasher to explore the nature of sculpture, we have sought to address imbalances and absences in the permanent collection by acquiring works by a greater diversity of artists. A significant development in this ongoing process has been the establishment of an acquisition fund by Kaleta Doolin for the purchase of works by women artists. The Guerrilla Girls portfolio is a gift from Doolin.
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