The conscience of the art world

Guerrilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe?

Guerilla Girls is a group of anonymous feminist activists who call themselves “the conscience of the art world”. Using humour and bold graphics they expose gender and ethnic bias in art and pop culture. Active since 1985 the group has done countless of raising awareness projects all around the world.

In 2017 they take it to London organising exhibition “Is it even worse in Europe” in Whitechapel Gallery. Activist group send out 383 questionnaires to museums and kunsthalles around Europe receiving only 101 responses. Exhibition is hosted in a small gallery 4 upstairs with an open space plan. Some of the questionnaires are hanged on the wall while the rest of them are presented in a document format. Guerrilla Girls have extracted the most outrageous answers to posters containing their annotations. The outcome provides us with a real insight to the size of the problem revealing most major galleries as non-divisive. Manchester Art Gallery collection is 80% male and 85% white while they claim to “discuss the diversity issue a lot”.

Guerrilla Girls have included the full list of all the galleries that have responded to them as well as those who did not in a most clever way. While the list of the first ones is presented up on the wall (where we look up to them) the latter in displayed on the floor with a sentence “Institutions that didn’t answer our questionnaire are listed here. Feel free to walk on them. Love Guerrilla Girls”.

The whole exhibition is well curated (Nayia Yiakoumaki) and beautifully designed although not as vast as we would want it to be. I would encourage everyone to visit it before it closes (5th March 2017) and I would especially recommend it to all the artist to see what is happening in the world we want to create in.

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