Who belongs in the art world? Who does the art world ignore and why? The activist collective the Guerrilla Girls continuously reconsider these questions and challenge their answers, all while remaining anonymous.
Since the 1980s, the Guerrilla Girls have served as a bedrock of activism in art, producing data-driven, highly visible, and often humorous projects that expose biases in the art world, including at the Hirshhorn. The collective is known for their intentional anonymity, wearing gorilla masks and operating under pseudonyms of deceased female artists to obscure their identities. Their unwavering advocacy for equal representation in museums, galleries, and other arts organizations and for fighting against human rights violations has expanded over the years from revealing gender and racial inequities to addressing issues of homelessness, equal pay, sexual harassment, healthcare, and environmentalism.
The Guerrilla Girls join Hirshhorn assistant curator Sandy Guttman to discuss the ongoing task of performing as the “conscience of the art world” and the issues they see as most important to address today.
Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly was released in 2020. The Guerrilla Girls Portfolio Compleat, including a recently approved acquisition to upgrade the Portfolio, is in the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection, and a selection of posters from the original Portfolio were included in recent exhibitions Manifesto: Art x Agency and Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s.
This virtual event is part of Talking to Our Time, the Hirshhorn’s online series of free artist talks featuring a diverse group of artists and collectives.
This event is also part of #HirshhornInsideOut, the Museum’s initiative to bring art into your home.
Image: Andrew Hinderaker