Guerrilla Girls: Art in Action chronicles the trajectory of the confrontational feminist art collective from their contentious beginning in the New York art scene to the present day. Drawn from the permanent collection of the Pomona College Museum of Art, the exhibition features a selection of works from the Guerrilla Girls' Portfolio Compleat 1985-2012—eighty-five posters, handbills, books, and newsletters documenting their interventions. The exhibition explores the way they redefined feminist activism in a critique of an exclusionary art world, which today still marginalizes women artists and artists of color.
Combining humor and mockery, their early work attacked the 1980s art scene, pointing out the lack of representation of female artists and artists of color. While the Guerrilla Girls’s focus remained centered around the feminist fight for artistic diversity and equality in museums and galleries, over the years their social commentary expanded to encompass subjects beyond the artistic landscape, such as the Gulf War, rape, homelessness, and abortion rights.
Members of The Guerrilla Girls are anonymous; they take the names of dead women artists and wear gorilla masks in public. Thirty years after their first actions, the Guerrilla Girls remain an active force. Members travel extensively, giving lectures and holding workshops on how to construct effective political graphics to provoke dialogue, while they continue producing their own work inspired by today's issues. The collective continues to incorporate a populist approach to art by producing large quantities of quickly reproducible works to reach a broad viewership.
Recent books written by the Guerrilla Girls include The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art (1998), Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls’ Guide to Female Stereotypes (2003) and The Guerrilla Girls’ Art Museum Activity Book (2004).
This exhibition is curated by Benjamin Feldman, Josephine Bump '76 Curatorial Intern, Pomona College ’15.