Members of the feminist art movement remind us that the aim of activist artists is to create visual images to promote change. The Guerrilla Girls, a collective group of female artists, create artwork anonymously. According to the group, “Mainly, we wanted the focus to be on the issues, not on our personalities or our work” (Tallman, 1991, p. 21). In making this comment, the Guerrilla Girls argue their mission is to create artwork to educate the public about gender and racial equality in the art world.
The Guerrilla Girls demonstrate their mission with the poster, Advantages of being a Woman Artist.
The poster features a reclining nude female model, an image originally found in a Neoclassical Ingres painting from 1814. However, the Guerrilla Girls poster features critical changes in contrast to the original. The female model wears a gorilla mask, with the words: “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum? Less than 4% of the artists in the Modern Art Section are women, but 76% of the nudes are female.” Whereas the visual focus of the Ingres piece is the female form, Advantages places emphasis on the words by using a bold easily read font. In making this statement, the Guerrilla Girls remind the audience that their stated goal is to utilize their artwork to bring awareness to the issue and foster change in the art world’s acceptance of female artists in the male-dominated commerce system.
The Guerrilla Girls have just released a new poster to help museums deal with the sexual harassment issues facing many artists. The poster shows three ways to display the wall tag to ignore of inform the audience to the artist’s sinister and criminal behavior.
The Guerrilla Girls use artist Chuck Close in their case study and his portrait of President Bill Clinton. Chuck Close who is a celebrated for his oversized contemporary portraits apologized to the four+ women accusing him of sexual harassment in a story in the New York Times from December, 2017.
This blog chronicles my research in activist art and my life as a woman in academia.