GUERRILLA GIRLS. PORTFOLIO COMPLEAT, 1985 - 2016
‘Do women have to be naked to get into the Metropolitan Museum of Art?’ This was one of the first questions asked by the Guerrilla Girls in 1989 when they realized that at this museum ‘less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Arts sections are women, but 85 % of the nudes are female.’
The Guerrilla Girls emerged in New York in 1985 as an anonymous artists’ collective dedicated to feminist activism. Their first action was a demonstration in front of the MoMA in New York, which was then hosting An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, a major exhibition of 169 artists that only included 13 women and hardly any people of colour.
Known for using gorilla masks to cover their faces, the group members take on the names of deceased women artists like Frida Kahlo, Eva Hesse, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gertrude Stein and Georgia O’Keeffe, thereby concealing their true identities from the world and promoting the achievements of those women.
The Guerrilla Girls’ actions and works aim to counteract patriarchal traditions and associated conducts in the culture industry. Their analytical, critical message is reinforced by the use of irony and humour, as evidenced in their actions, communications, discussions, debates and exhibitions. In its more than thirty-five years of existence, the collective has produced countless posters, books, stickers, drawing projects, graphic publications and magazines about sexism and discrimination against women in the visual arts, film and culture in general. Portfolio Compleat, defined by the group as a sample of the ‘conscience of the art world,’ includes this entire repertoire, where they appropriate the visual language of advertising and marketing to communicate their messages in a clear, direct way. For the first time, this exhibition presents the latest material produced by a collective which, in their own words, is ‘not ready to make nice.’
Guerrilla Girls. Portfolio Compleat, 1985 - 2016 is an adaptation for the CGAC of an exhibition produced by the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC).