Do women (still) have to be naked to get into the Metropolitan Museum?

by Intern Kelsie

The Guerrilla Girls have been raising hell in the art world for 27 years now, but despite their nearly three decades of feminist activism, not much has changed. In a conversation facilitated by Interview Magazine, the activists field questions from 21 female artists, including Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, and Miranda July. The Guerrillas bring up a famous 1989 statistic from their posters and billboards that states “Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections [of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York] are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.” Repeating the same basic test in 2011, the feminist collective found that only 4% in the Modern and Contemporary sections of the Met were women and 76% of the nudes were female. The Girls’ conclusion: “Fewer women artists, more naked males. Is this progress? Guess we can’t put our masks away yet.”

The Girls even go so far as calling out Interview Magazine (in an interview in Interview… totally meta or what…?) for their lack of inclusion of women of color. It’s this in-your-face, unapologetic approach that the Girls have promised since the group’s inception over 20 years ago.

And they are sticking to their word. Releasing an updated version of their 2004 book The Guerrilla Girls Art Museum Activity Book, the Girls still refuse to be silent about what they see as greed, corruption, and gender inequality in the commercial art world and beyond. To celebrate, the Guerrilla Girls are throwing a release party at Printed Matter in New York on March 31 from 5-7 PM. We wonder how they’ll sip the cocktails that are always flowing at a Chelsea gallery opening in a gorilla mask, but after all they’ve done in the fight for gender equality, we’re pretty sure they can figure out a wine glass.

Click over to Interview Magazine for the full conversation and for incredible quotes like these from the Guerrilla Girls:

“By the way, we think it’s ridiculous that so many people in the U.S. who believe in the tenets of feminism, equal pay for equal work, freedom from sexual exploitation and abuse, the right to an education, control over their reproductive lives, etc., have been brainwashed by negative stereotypes in the media and society and refuse to call themselves feminists. And guys, that means you, too. Time to man up, whether you’re female, male, trans, etc. and speak up for women. Feminism don’t get no respect, but women’s rights, civil rights, and gay, lesbian and trans rights are the great human rights movements of our time.”

“We’d love to take those masks off, but would anyone listen to us without them? We discovered that the art world takes feminists more seriously when they use humor and wear a gorilla disguise.”

“You’d be surprised what comes out of your mouth when you wear a mask.”


Image source

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.