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ABOVE RIGHT: An interactive game that invited viewers to fire darts at a huge mammary gland representing the gender and racial breakdown of past Biennials

In response to the Whitney Biennial in 1987, the Guerrilla Girls exposed the museum's pathetic and worsening record on women and artists of color in this exhibition at The Clocktower.

The Clocktower, a New York exhibition space, asked us to do a show during the Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennial in 1987. They expected us to do a show of art we thought should be in the Biennial. Instead, we decided to do an exhibition of information exposing the museum's pathetic and worsening record on women and artists of color. All of the statistics came from the museum's own publications. A deep throat passed us confidential information about the lives of the museum's trustees.

THE LO-DOWN FROM 1987: No black woman had ever been chosen for a Whitney Biennial since 1973; Of the 30 non-white artists who had been in the biennials since 1973, only 3 have had work acquired for the museum collection; More than 70 artists had been chosen for more than one Biennial. Only one of them was non-white; The Whitney's acquisition of art by women had never exceeded 14% in any year. In 1984 only 9% of its acquisitions were of women artists; The work of men chosen for the Biennial was acquired by the museum twice as often as the work of women chosen for the Biennial; More than 70% of the acquisitions of art by women in the Biennials up untl then had taken place in the 1970's; The museum already owned works by 12 of the 43 artists in the 1987 Biennial show; Between 1982 - 1987 there had been only one solo show of a woman artist at The Whitney.


ABOVE LEFT: A wall of products manufactured by corporate sponsors of the Whitney. We found it infuriating that profits from products marketed to women and people of color - like cosmetics and cigarettes - end up funding shows that discrimnate against them? ABOVE RIGHT: A letter to Whitney Museum trustee and Sotheby's chief stockholder Alfred Taubman- "We understand that Philip Morris, Mobil Oil, and Equitable get involved in the wonderful world of art because it's good for their public image. But what does your company have to gain?"

Copyright 1987/2014 Guerrilla Girls