In Focus: Guerrilla Girls Transcript

Guerrilla Girls, <i>Benvenuti alla biennale femminista!</i> (from the series

Artists at Work Video Series: Guerrilla Girls


( suspenseful music )

[Frida] We’re the Guerrilla Girls.

( exciting rock music )

We’re a bunch of feminist activist artists who expose and protest racism, sexism, corruption, and injustice in the art world and beyond.

( exciting rock music )

[Guerrilla Girl] When you look at our masks, you think of what we stand for, and we stand for the conscience of the art world.

( upbeat dance music )

[Frida] In 1985, we started looking around the art world, and we noticed that almost all the opportunities were going to men, white men. So we decided that we would start asking public questions about why that was.

( exciting rock music )

[Frida] We realized that you have to do something unforgettable in order to change people’s minds,

and we discovered that if we used a provocative headline, a little bit of humor,

( upbeat rock music )

backed up with statistics,

( upbeat rock music )

( slides click )

we had a better chance of getting inside people’s brains and affecting the way they think.

( people chattering )

[Kathe] The minute we put these posters up on the street; people wanted to talk to us.

The Guerrilla Girls.

The Guerrilla Girls.

[Reporter] The Guerrilla Girls.

[TV host] Why are you wearing masks?

[Speaker] Is there friction between the galleries and Guerrilla Girls?

[Reporter] Are you calling for quotas?

[Reporter] What would you say to the man who says, “Go show at the women’s museum”?

[Kathe] Today, museums are trying to change their discriminatory ways. It’s a real sea change starting, but it’s very hard to roll that rock up a hill.

[Frida] Art is expensive. It has become an instrument of capitalism, an instrument of investment.

Even when they start to show more women and artists of color, unfortunately, they show the same artists over and over again, as opposed to showing a broader, richer history of art.

[Kathe] I think museums used to be the authority. We don’t have that idea anymore.

[Frida] You don’t have to accept everything that’s in a museum; you don’t have to like it, and you certainly don’t have to appreciate it. You can use it to provoke your thinking and then ask questions.

( bright music )

[Frida] When we started, people would ask us, “What do you think about the National Museum of Women in the Arts?” Well, until we don’t need them, we need them.

( bright music )

[Kathe] We have an amazing, creative, diverse culture.

You can’t stop artists.

Even if they don’t become superstars, you can’t stop them from doing their work.

Of course, be critical of the system, but be really open to the art.

( siren wails )