Recently, I have been trying to study new artists to expand my knowledge of the art world. I have been primarily focused on researching contemporary artists who are known to be very controversial and political. Within this research process, I came across an anonymous group of feminist artists known as the Guerrilla Girls. This group of female artists are known to be parading around with gorilla masks on and creating very controversial and political statements in the form of posters and propaganda. Honestly, as I researched into them more and more, I figured that their work would be a lot more popular in today’s society. However, I don’t see much talk about them at all anymore. They continue to create art related to current politics and feminism. Since this has been a present topic in the news, I feel more artists should look into their work. They might find them very inspiring and influential.
The group was originally formed in 1985 in New York City. Back then, these women in gorilla masks would go around and hang up posters criticizing racism and sexism in the art world. Quickly, they gained attention thanks to their rebellious nature as well as their humorous approach in their art. One of their pieces, Dearest Art Collector, is just a letter written to specific well known art collectors criticizing their choices in not buying women’s work. The letter is formatted to look like stereotypical feminine writing. The best part about this piece is it ironically enough has become a big ticket collector’s item. What was originally a practical joke has now become one of their first big pieces of art.
Something really intriguing about the Guerrilla Girls is their new age approach to modern issues in today’s society. They will on occasion revisit their old art and will add on to it. If there is little change to the situation, they will make sure everyone knows. They are a very determined group that will stop at nothing within their art in order to get what they want. Their text and art cross-medium work allows for their to be a stronger push in their desires for society.The Guerrilla Girls will also very often utilize mathematics, specifically statistics, in their art in order to prove their point. I find their tactics very effective. Some of their work might easily turn viewers away due to the strong amount of honesty within it. However, I agree with them on the concept that change will not occur until the truth is revealed at it’s fullest.
Personally, I feel very inspired by the Guerrilla Girls. My art style is alternative, edgy, thought-provoking, and controversial like theirs. While in art school, I have felt very hesitant to utilize my artistic style in order to be able to get a good grade. This group of women have inspired me personally to try new ways of stepping outside of the box with my art in order to use my style more within class. I also now have new ideas I want to put to the test over winter break that is similar to some of the group’s techniques. Over winter break, I highly suggest you check out some of their research! They might surprise you with facts and art you would not expect. There is such a strong modern day push to put out less political work, yet we are in an age where it is essential in order for artists to continue on in society the way that they want to. Let your voice be heard!
Image Courtesy of the New York Times