Guerrilla Girls

"The Grande Odalisque"
Jean Ingres, 1814

Plastered over New York City's
buses and billboards, 1989

What? Do women really have to be naked to get in the Metropolitan Museum, New York City.

Apparently so. In 1989, of all the figurative nude paintings in the Metropolitan Museum, 85% of those paintings depicted nude women. And only a grim 5% of US women artists were represented at all. Responding to this, an anonymous group of feminists began appearing in gorilla masks (albeit fully clothed!) on billboards and in public appearances, coining the name, “Guerrilla Girls.” Devoted to fighting gender and racial inequality in the art world, the Guerrilla Girls are still going strong today and they have a website!
Guerrilla Girls website

But are women artists making progress?

Today’s statistics from The Women’s Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate:

8% of artwork in galleries and museum collections are by women artists.
70% of artwork in galleries and museums are created by male artists.

Pretty dismal, folks. But hark! Do not despair! Gradually women artists are being recognized in a significant way in major US museums and galleries, which are now featuring such icons as Alice Neel and Joan Mitchell.

"The De Vegh Twins"
Alice Neel, 1975

"Two Pianos"
Joan Mitchell, 1979

Comment on a success story of a present day woman artist and we will post it!
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2012-04-10T21:33:51+00:00

7 Comments

  1. Vic DePratti April 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Women do not need to be nude to be the subject/focus of art form. However, because of the natural beauty of the unadorned female form, one cannot deny the interest/attraction of their disproportionate representation. Art is about beauty in a variety of forms/representations. Be it a face, a sunset, an abstract concept struggling to represent the artists imaging. Let us not reduce art, beauty into a social/gender babble.

    • kkeditor April 15, 2012 at 2:12 am - Reply

      I agree. The arena of art should not include “social/gender babble.” However, statistics are statistics and when we become aware of important disproportionate statistics we must call attention to it! Thanks for the very contemplative comment.

  2. Vic DePratti April 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Addendum: “…glorification of the feminine form but only with the eye, the eye, of the artistica … the elegance of the soul of the artist …” VJDP Fienza 04/14/2007.

  3. Carol Wilson April 14, 2012 at 12:55 am - Reply

    This was particularly interesting to me as I was part of a group in Utah that established an Art Foundtion in 1981 to promote women artists. In Utah we have a lot more women artists showing up in exhibits, and am sure we helped. We currently have a show every other year, and hang over 50 works, sometimes 75 at the show, which is only for women to enter. We give away over $7,000 each show. Good topic, Kirby. Carol

    • kkeditor April 15, 2012 at 2:08 am - Reply

      Congratulations Utah! It is inspiring to hear of an art foundation that promotes women artists….and especially one which monetarily rewards the artist!

    • Carol Wilson April 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      The sponsoring group of the Art Show referred to in this posting was the American Association of University Women, Utah Division. These women raised money to start a Foundation, the Utah Women Artists Foundation in the early 80’s. The mission of the Foundation is to promote women artists within the state, by giving them a place to show their works of art. The show has an out of state Juror to judge over 250 or 300 works submitted of which about 20% are shown. We have received feedback from gratefull women who have struggled to do their art, financially and emotionally, telling us how much it meant for them to have the opportunity to display their art, and get recognition. Carol Wilson

  4. stephen dunn April 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    I find it interesting that through the ages that it’s very difficult to name very many prominent women artist, Mary Cassat,Grandma Moses, and ???
    Is that a male dominated society or is it a medium that rarily inspires the female mind of the species?? I honestly don’t know except I’m sure I will get a lot of flack from the “women” for even going there….
    PS. The use of the female body in all sorts of undress for advertising is simply ludicrous and degrading to the American male in that he will buy any product–no matter what–if there is cleavage involved!! (that also does not fall into the “art” category..)

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