Urgent Museum Notice

Guerrilla Girls

Four figures stand side by side and wear gorilla masks that cover their entire heads. The background shows a sunlit building with arched windows, sky, and in the lower right corner a small glimpse of water and the tip of a gondola. Each guerilla holds a pink sign with black text.

Guerrilla Girls, Benvenuti alla biennale femminista! (from the series "Guerrilla Girls Talk Back: Portfolio 2"), 2005; Lithographic poster, 17 x 11 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of Wilhelmina Cole Holladay; © Guerrilla Girls, Courtesy guerrillagirls.com

Born in 1985

To maintain their anonymity, group members wear gorilla masks in public and adopt the names of historic women artists, such as Käthe Kollwitz and Frida Kahlo, as pseudonyms.

Guerrilla Girls posters first appeared in 1985, pasted onto structures in lower Manhattan. Combining bold advertising-style graphics with eye-opening facts and figures, the posters detailed discrimination by the city’s art galleries and museums against women artists and artists of color.

Humor is also a vital part of the Guerrilla Girls’s art, making their serious messages accessible and engaging. The group continues to address sexism and racism in the art world, but also targets Hollywood, mass media, art censorship, government corruption and apathy, and the battle for reproductive rights.

The Guerrilla Girls first operated through poster campaigns and protests in New York; they now maintain an online presence and present public lectures and performances around the world. They have published several books, including The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art (1998).

The collective continues to embrace a populist approach to art, producing their artwork in quantity to reach a broad audience.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Guerrilla Girls
  • Birth

    1985

Works by Guerrilla Girls

Horror on the National Mall!

The Guerrilla Girls are known for using “guerrilla” tactics to expose gender and racial imbalances within contemporary cultural institutions. In 2007, Blake Gopnik, then chief art critic for The Washington Post, asked the Guerrilla Girls to create a full-page work for a special Post section on feminism and art (April 22, 2007). Gopnik’s section was partly inspired by the exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist...

Vertical poster of the National Mall in Washngton, DC with a tabloid-style broadside superimposed on top. The satirical graphic art shows prominent female artists behind jail bars and the headline, 'Horror on the National Mall! Thousands of women locked in basements of D.C. museums!'