Guerrilla Girls Audio Tour

This exhibition of Guerrilla Girls, a major presentation of the collective, illuminates and contextualizes the important past and ongoing work of these highly original, provocative and influential artists who champion feminism and social change.


 Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond is curated by Neysa Paige-Lieberman. Organized and circulated by Columbia College Chicago, Presented by the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art.

Audio Transcript

Welcome to the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art. My name is Ashley Lothyan, the Education Coordinator here at RAFFMA. I am here with Danielle Yellen, a current student at CSUSB studying both art history and studio art. Today we will be walking you through and highlighting a few pieces from Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond. Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond opened March 2012 at Glass Curtain Gallery and A+D Gallery at Columbia College Chicago. The exhibition is curated by Neysa Paige-Lieberman, curator and director of the department of exhibition and performance spaces at Columbia College Chicago. Since its opening, this exhibition has traveled to various university art museums in the country.

Danielle Yellen:

The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of female activists who formed in 1985 to fight gender and racial inequality within the art world. This exhibition covers 30 years of their work. Not only fighting inequality within the art world but also within pop culture, film, and issues within society.

Ashley Lothyan:

Originally, none of the pieces were designed to be shown in an art museum. The posters and vinyl were displayed around the country and world. Showing up on the sides of buses, the outer walls of museums, picket signs, stickers, and even bathroom stalls. Their presentation is in a new context addressing the internal of the art museum whilst adorning the walls of the museum. 

Dearest Art Collector in English, Greek and Chinese, 1986-2012

RAFFMA's Education Coordinator and a CSUSB art student discuss the work of the Guerrilla Girls and the history of the exhibition Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond. The piece Dearest Art Collector in English, Greek and Chinese, 1986-2012 is highlighted in their discussion.

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Audio Transcript

You are standing in front of our first spotlight, Dearest Art Collector in English, Greek and Chinese, 1986-2011. The span of the years is the time period in which the piece circulated and was updated. This piece in particular always amazes me. It shows that it’s not just in American culture or political idea but these issues arise around the world. That’s a great point. The Guerrilla Girls are known for going into different countries around the world and bringing light to the systemic problem. This piece was first shown as a street poster in 1986 which has been translated into Greek for the Art Athina International Art Fair and Chinese for the Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair 2008. 

Dearest Eli Broad, 2008

Philanthropist Eli Broad is targeted in the piece Dearest Eli Broad, 2008 by the Guerrilla Girls, addressing the exhibition at The Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

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Audio Transcript

To your right of Dearest Art Collector is our Spotlight 2. Dearest Eli Broad, which was designed in 2008. Eli Broad is a renowned business leader and philanthropist within the Los Angeles area who funded the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In the Fall of 2015, Eli Broad opened the Broad Art Museum in Downtown Los Angeles. Broad’s immense collection of art fills the space of the museum. Like Dearest Art Collector in English, Greek and Chinese, the Guerrilla Girls focus their attention to the direct problem, adjusting the ones in power. In order to represent a diverse range of artists within the art world, the Guerrilla Girls target those in power who are able to establish a clear representation of culture. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA was built by Eli Broad for 50 million dollars. At the opening exhibition at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a contemporary art survey only featured three women artists and one artist of color. The rest were white males. The Guerrilla Girls response to such a, and I quote, “diverse show” was the flyers shown in the bathroom stalls of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum as well as an email. What would your reaction be Danielle if you were to be invited to the opening of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum with this survey of contemporary art? I would definitely be excited but also honored to be amongst such renowned artists. But then if I were to use the bathroom and see the letters posted up against the stalls I would start to second guess myself. I guess I would feel torn. Why am I so excited to be in a room full of males when I myself am a woman artist and they aren’t even represented.

Do Women Have to be Naked to Get Into the Met. Museum?, 1989-2011

The Guerrilla Girls most iconic piece Do Women Have to be Naked to Get Into the Met. Museum? 1989-2011 has been seen on the sides of busses, posters, stickers, and t-shirts.

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Audio Transcript

Our Spotlight 3 is Do Women Have to be Naked to Get Into the Met Museum?, 1989-2011. I can still remember the very first time I saw this piece. It was during my earlier art history courses and still to this day anytime I hear Guerrilla Girls, I automatically see the bright pink and yellow of this piece. It almost feels iconic to me. What about you actually? Do you feel any connection to this piece? Certainly, my first encounter with the Guerrilla Girls was this exact piece and since then whenever I do see billboards still within Los Angeles I’m reminded of the first time I heard about them. Yeah, definitely. What is interesting though is I never noticed the feet and how choppy they are up until now. It is almost as if the Guerrilla Girls rushed through that part because the general public is not intended nor supposed to focus there. For me, I always focus on the mask and her bare back which are perfectly cut out. The women’s figure also reminds me of all the different Venus’s I’ve studied through my art history courses. The title of this piece, painting actually, that is used is Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres from 1814, oil on canvas. So the Guerrilla Girls re-appropriated the image to add a gorilla mask and text and presented it in a new context. Addressing how the majority of nude women allowed in museums were either goddesses, deities, or represented in a religious context during the 19th and 20th century. The Venus is a Roman sex goddess. Other male artists who depicted the female nude Venus included Edouard Manet in Olympia, oil on canvas 1863; Sandro Botticelli The Birth of Venus, 1484-1486; and Titian Venus of Urbino, 1538. You know, all those sound very familiar and I know were all included in my early art history textbooks but where were the women artists? This piece was first plastered on the sides of New York City buses in 1989 followed with banners, stickers, posters, and t-shirts. This piece increased the Guerrilla Girls recognition and following. Going into this next section of spotlights are a series of commissioned works. The Guerrilla Girls were contacted to run a report on the representation of a group which have included women, minority artists within the museum, and specific issues within a state, country, museum, or town around the world. Commissioned works expose facts and statistics specific to the group.

Irish Toast, 2009-2012

This piece was commissioned for the Guerrilla Girls "All-Ireland Tour" 

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Audio Transcript

Our Spotlight 4 is Irish Toast, 2009-2012. This banner is one of three the Guerrilla Girls produced when on an “All Ireland Tour”. Developed for the Millennium Court Art Centre, Belfast, Cork, Dublin, and Kilkenny. Irish Toast was commissioned to address national statistics in Ireland. When asked about this piece, the Guerrilla Girls stated, “when we showed Irish women artists the statistics, they went ballistic so we wrote a special Irish drink toast for the occasion. The drink shown in the banner is the infamous Irish car bomb which actually is an Americanized version of an, and I quote, “Irish cocktail”

The Future for Turkish Artists, 2006-2012

The Guerrilla Girls were contacted by The Istanbul Modern Museum in Turkey to comment on the women artists in Turkey. 

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Audio Transcript

Moving on to our Spotlight 5, The Future for Turkish Women Artists, 2006-2012. This banner was first shown in Istanbul Turkey Modern Museum in 2006. This piece was commissioned by the Modern Museum in Turkey asking the Guerrilla Girls to comment on the state of women artists in the country. The Guerrilla Girls comment of response was their fortune depicted in coffee grounds, a custom in Turkey. 

The Anatomically Correct Oscar, 2002-2012

Addressing the film industry, this piece was on display in Hollywood in 2002 during award season.

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Audio Transcript

Our Spotlight 6, The Anatomically Correct Oscar, 2002-2012. This large banner appeared in the Nation magazine, who invited the Guerrilla Girls to address the lack of women within the film industry. This piece was followed by stickers, posters, and billboards. This banner was in Hollywood in 2002 during the Hollywood award season. I have a quote by the Guerrilla Girls in relation to this piece stating, “we redesigned the golden boy to more closely resemble the guys who take him home each year. He’s white and male, just like the guys who win. This is actually still very much happening today. Back in January of 2015 the managing editor at Broadway Black, April Rain, created a hashtag that read #Oscarssowhite. It went viral on Twitter and just within a few hours the whole world was using the phrase. #Oscarssowhite still today remains important and with the upcoming Oscars, it has regained its popularity. The Guerrilla Girls constantly have to go back and update their statistics so I wonder if they will have to update them after this year’s Oscars.

Where are the Women Artists of Venice?, 2005-2012

The above piece is the Guerrilla Girls response to the representation of women artists in Venice galleries and museums.

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Audio Transcript

Here you are at the last spotlight, spotlight seven: Where are the women Artists of Venice, 2005-2012. In 2005 The Guerrilla Girls were invited by the first two women directors of the Venice Belinelli; Rosa Martinez and Maria Dicorall to critique the Venice Belinelli. The Venice Belinelli is an internationally influential art fair, the result is the piece at your right. Veni e tu al La belinelli feminista, a banner that critiques Venice and the piece, Where are the Women Artists of Venice. The Guerrilla girls did a gallery tally of the museums in Venice, from the piece I quote, “ Of more than 1,238 artworks currently on exhibit at the major museums of Venice, fewer than 40 are by women”. At the very bottom of the banner, The Guerrilla Girls have shown results for each museum, they will shock you. 

This particular piece always speaks to me, as a student studying both Studio art practices as well as Art History, my work encompasses both aspects. I tend to make work which communicates art historical context through visual arts. This very idea of combining visual arts with art history is demonstrated here in Where are the Women Artists of Venice. You can see famous art pieces scattered across the floor, below the iconic still from the film, La Dolce Vida. The Guerrilla Girls are bringing art history to the streets throughout their work. Which interestingly, is almost always done through some sort of graphic design. We know that the Guerrilla Girls peaks for the women and for the people of color left out of museums. But they also stand up for graphic design as being the minority of the fine art world and its history.

March-April 2017

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