The Guerrilla Girls Discuss Sexism and Art at SBU

On Thursday, October 13, Stony Brook University hosted The Guerrilla Girls, a collective of anonymous female activist who are fighting to expose and lessen the sexism present in the art world. Since 1985 these feminist crusaders have been the creators of stickers, billboards, posters, street projects and books that strive to “expose seixm, racism and corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture." Members of the Guerrilla Girls wear gorilla masks while in public and assume the names of the dead female artists in order to ensure the focus remains on the issues rather than their personalities. Thursday’s presentation was lead by “Frida Khalo” and included a multimedia presentation that displayed the Guerrilla Girls’ past artwork and videography. 

During the presentation Ms. Kahlo gave a brief overview of the Guerrilla Girls’ history. The group started out in the 1980’s on the streets of New York City, plastering posters to walls in the middle of the night. In the past 30 years, their work has been displayed in over 90 universities and museums, as well as NPR, BBC, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.  Ms. Kahlo discussed various topics from the lack of female artists in galleries, to the lack of female representation in film, to the corruption of the art world that she described as, “the fourth largest black market behind guns, drugs, and diamonds.” Ms. Khalo asserted that, “It’s our right and our duty to get pissed off,” concerning the gender and ethnic biases that exist throughout our culture.Ms. Khalo went on to discuss The Guerrilla Girls’ worldwide presence, showing pictures of projects that have appeared in Mexico City, Istanbul, London, Bilbao, Rotterdam, and Shanghai. Today the Guerrilla Girls continue to stage protests, host lectures, create street art, and tour all across the United States. Ms. Khalo ended the presentation by promoting the Girls’ latest book, The Hysterical Herstory of Hysteria and How It Was Cured: From Ancient Times Until Now, and asserted the power was in our hands to effect real change. Ms. Khalo stated the importance of asking your local museum and art galleries “Where are the women? Where are the minorities?” and concluded with a powerful quote: “No one is free unless everyone is free.”

The Guerrilla Girls latest exhibit entitled "Not Ready to Make Nice" is on display at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery in the Staller Center until this Saturday, October 22.