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Guerrilla Girls come to Utah State University

Poster for Guerrilla Girls.
Utah State University

The Guerrilla Girls, a group founded nearly 30 years ago in New York City, is performing tonight on the Utah State University campus.

The group first came together in the mid-1980s to protest the lack of female artists represented at a Museum opening in New York City. Since then, the Guerrilla Girls, who wear furry gorilla masks and use pseudonyms of dead female artists, have taken part in numerous protests to bring attention to inequality in art, pop culture, and politics. Rachel Middleman, an assistant professor of art at USU, explains.        

“They do these things in a really bold and fun way to get people to think about discrimination in the art world both against female artists but also issues of race and class that might affect who gets representation in museums and galleries and who doesn’t.”

Famous works by the Guerrilla Girls include a poster that asks, “Do women have to be naked to get into the MET Museum?”

“They went to the museum and did this survey of the artwork that was hanging in the modern section and what the poster tells you is that only 5 percent of the artists represented are women, but 85 percent of the nudes are female nudes. And they keep redoing it so that the statistics have changed but what’s really interesting is they haven’t changed that much.”

Middleman says audience members should expect tonight’s gig to approach these sometimes tough topics with humor.

“I think humor is a really important part of their work and to think about the ways that through art you can use humor to bring up issues that are really politically and socially important.”

The Guerrilla Girl’s visit coincides with exhibits around the state featuring female artists.