Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?
May 5, 2015 3:46 PM   Subscribe

"The Whitney museum says, 'Isn't it wonderful – we have 30% women in the new collection!'" says the activist known as Frida Kahlo. "And we're saying, why is that something to be happy about – 30%? Where is the other 20?" The Guerrilla Girls: 30 years of punking art world sexism (Emma Brockes, The Guardian); previously on MetaFilter.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (8 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I wonder if they find it frustrating to have made so little headway in the last 30 years. How depressing.

What's worse, even if there's an increase in the number of women artists exhibited in museums and galleries, there's probably no way to draw a direct correlation between that and the Guerrilla Girls protests.
posted by zarq at 4:24 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Although progress might be slow, I love that they exist and are still fighting the good fight. They're clever and witty and properly punk and oh my I think I've fallen in love with some art anarchists dressed as gorillas. Thanks for this!

(Although I'm questioning if there is any cause I believe in so much I would refuse doughnuts)
posted by billiebee at 4:35 PM on May 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Although progress might be slow, I love that they exist and are still fighting the good fight.

Sorry, I don't mean to be a downer. It's just that I first read about them more than 20 years ago in the Village Voice, and it sucks beyond belief that there's been so little change in the art world since then. The fight doesn't seem good to me. It feels frustratingly ineffective.

Maybe the new initiatives they're planning will breathe new life into their cause. I sure hope so.
posted by zarq at 5:18 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I remember seeing some of their posters (or did they run as ads in magazines, maybe?) in about 1990. I'm glad there has been at least some improvement in the intervening years, though it is shameful how little. I found most interesting the discussion of how much of the art world kind of likes their activism, even while failing to respond:

The outing didn’t get much traction, mainly because, even though, as Kahlo puts it, they are “a thorn in the side” of the art establishment, they are also appreciated for bringing a certain anarchic joy to an otherwise stuffy and bloated environment.

“People close to us have protected our anonymity because they believe in the issues and realise that they don’t want to know who we are,” Kahlo says. “They’d like us to just keep doing what we’re doing.”

The article did make me take stock of the art in my own house. Without having planned it that way, the vast majority of pieces are by women artists (and most of those women of color and/or LGBT). Part of that comes from personal connections, but mostly it is simply buying art that speaks to me -- there's no excuse for a gallery of contemporary art to not have a reasonably diverse mix of artists.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:57 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

5% of known artists and 85% of nudes sounds probably relatively representative of known artists and nudes in the global history of art. The proportion of notable contemporary artists who are women is higher, but that is only a minor part of what the Met is about.
posted by knoyers at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2015

That is very frustrating that the numbers have only gone up slightly in 30 years.

But it's nice to know that the Guerrilla Girls are the only ones not being doxxed on social media!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:37 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love the Guerrilla Girls and hope they continue to overturn tables and make their voice heard.

> The fight doesn't seem good to me. It feels frustratingly ineffective.

Uh, "fighting the good fight" doesn't mean "winning."
posted by languagehat at 8:02 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Uh, "fighting the good fight" doesn't mean "winning."

posted by zarq at 8:25 AM on May 6, 2015

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