"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

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