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On June 14, 1984 we went to a protest outside the Museum of Modern Art where there was a survey exhibition of 169 artists, with only 13 women and even fewer artists of color. We were shocked that no one visiting the museum seemed to care! That was the AHA! Moment. There HAD to be a better way -- a more contemporary, creative way -- to break through people's belief that museums always knew best and there wasn't any discrimination in the artworld. We had the idea to do street posters, got some friends together some 9 months later, passed the hat around to pay for printing, and called ourselves the Guerrilla Girls. Those first posters started a public discussion that is still going on. They led to hundreds more, not just about art, but also about film, politics and pop culture. Our crazy kind of activism (using facts and humor) became a model for hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who want to use their creativity to fight for issues they care about.

Women Artists Visibility Event @ MoMA 1984 Women Artists Visibility Event @ MoMA 1984 Women Artists Visibilty Event @ MoMA 1984

The "Women Artists Visibility Event (W.A.V.E.) organized by the Women's Caucus for Art protesting MoMA.
Above: Photos1-3 from left Copyright © Clarissa Sligh http://clarissasligh.com/themes/social-injustice/wave-women-artists-visibility-event/
Photos 5-6 Copyright © Mira Schor http://ayearofpositivethinking.com/2011/10/19/a-discussion-on-facebook-about-occupy-museums/

Guerrilla Girls' first press release 1985 First posters on the street

Above left: Our first press relase from May 6, 1985. Above right: Some of our first posters plastered on the streets of SoHo.


Posters pointing to the inadequate numbers of women artists represented in leading New York galleries are appearing in SoHo streets, on walls, streetlamps and telephone booths. Two strongly worded posters drawing attnetion to the continuing discrimination against women artists are the work of a newly formed group calling itself Guerrilla Girls and preferring to conduct its campaign of information and public exposure without identifying its individual members. Guerrilla Girls plans to continue its campaign throughout the next weeks and next season, drawing attention to the retrograde attitudes toward women artists that characterize certain segments of the art world of the mid-80's. Simple facts will be spelled out; obvious conclusions can be drawn.

Copyright © 1985-2014 by Guerrilla Girls