In 1985, a bunch of female artists, incensed by an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art that included 165 artists but only 17 women, founded the Guerrilla Girls. Dubbing ourselves “The Conscience of the Artworld,” we started making posters that bluntly stated the facts of discrimination and used humor to convey information, provoke discussion and to show that feminists can be funny. We assumed the names of dead women artists, and began wearing gorilla masks when we appeared in public, concealing our true identities and focusing on the issues rather than on our personalities.
In the years that followed, we produced over 90 posters, actions, billboards, postcards, books, and magazine projects, examining discrimination in art, culture and politics. Posters which once appeared on the walls of SoHo in the dead of night now appear on the Internet, in museums and in books. We have traveled the world over, daring to speak out against injustice wherever it lurks.
Thousands of our supporters own copies of our work, as do institutions such as the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Getty. We have been the subject of countless articles in newspapers and magazines here and abroad including The New Yorker, Ms. Magazine, Vogue, Esquire, and The New York Times. We have been featured on PBS, CBS, CNN and many international TV & radio stations. We have spoken at colleges, universities and art museums all over the world.
We have received awards from the National Organization for Women, the New York City Borough President's office, the Center for Women's Policy Studies, New York Woman Magazine and The Ministry of Culture in Berlin. We were the subject of a documentary film, "Guerrillas in our Midst," that has won numerous prizes.
In 1993 the National Endowment for the Arts funded our quarterly newsletter, “Hot Flashes.” In 1995 we published our first book, “Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls.” Our second book, “The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art,” was published in 1998. Between 1985 and 2000, close to 100 women, working collectively and anonymously, participated in the group. At the turn of the millennium, three separate and independent incorporated groups formed to bring fake fur and feminism to new frontiers:
Guerrilla Girls, Inc., www.guerrillagirls.com, was established by two founding Guerrilla Girls and other members to continue the use of provocative text, visuals and humor in the service of feminism and social change. They have written several books and create projects about the art world, film, politics and pop culture. They travel the world, talking about the issues and their experiences as feminist masked avengers, reinventing the “f” word into the 21st century.
Guerrilla Girls On Tour, Inc., www.guerrillagirlsontour.com, is a touring theatre collective founded by three former members of the Guerrilla Girls. GGOT develops plays, performances, street theatre actions and residency programs that dramatize women'’s history and address the lack of opportunities for women and artists of color in the performing arts.
GuerrillaGirlsBroadBand, Inc., www.ggbb.org, was formed by a founding Guerrilla Girl and a bevy of young, next-generation feminists and artists of color. “The Broads” combat sexism, racism and social injustice, exploring such taboo subjects as feminism and fashion and discrimination in the wired workplace through their website and live interactive activist events.