The Art World Remains Stagnant
In recent years, the push for inclusivity in mainstream media has become more popular than ever before. From television to marketing campaigns, consumers demand diversity and brands are finally listening!
But this isn't a new concept.
Progressive activist groups, like the "Guerrilla Girls", existed long before audiences pressured companies into embracing different races and genders.
With the use of witty humor and thought-provoking facts, feminist activist group, "Guerrilla Girls" have used artwork and speaking engagements to expose sexism and racism in the political, media and art worlds. Their work consists mostly of statistics and words and less of imagery and illustrations. They support a "guerrilla" approach by using art to taking on prevalent organizations. The group’s art is part of the Whitney Museum’s 'An Incomplete History of Protest' exhibit. Most of the pieces, on display now, were created in the late eighties to mid-nineties.
In the art piece, "Guerrilla Girls' Definition of a Hypocrite", the girls call out the left winged art world by defining a hypocrite as, “An art collector who buys white male art at benefits for liberal causes but never buys art by women or artists of color.” The other works highlight people and media outlets that lacked support for women and minorities; such as, Andy Warhol in "How many works by women artists were in the Andy Warhol and Tremaine actions at Sotheby's?" (The answer is 0), Art Flash Magazine as the art magazine that showed little to no female artists in 1988, and the Reagan-Bush administrations for their lack of support for people of color in "How long did it take to loot South Central L.A.?"
While the guerrilla mask wearing activist group has existed for decades their message continues to remain on brand. The piece titled, How many women had one-person exhibitions at NYC museums last year?, exposes the Guggenheim, MET, and even The Whitney for not having any female-led exhibits up until the year 1985, is noticeably not on display.
And things haven’t changed.
One of their pieces created in 2012, called Gender reassignment, shames the Art Institute for only having female artists showcased in 10% of their modern galleries and 18% of their contemporary galleries.
The 17 piece collection, created over a quarter of a century ago, feels as if it was designed this year. Their current collection sadly embodies the idea that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Have you seen the Guerrilla Girls' self-titled exhibit at the Whitney Museum yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below.