The Guerrilla Girls wear masks to protect their identities.
Close Caption
Portrait: ©Jack Mitchell/Getty Images. Artwork: Copyright ©Guerrilla Girls, courtesy guerrillagirls.com.
Activists or Artists?
The Guerrilla Girls blur the line between art and politics

In April 1985, the Guerrilla Girls papered the streets of New York City with their first poster. On it, they accused curators at the Museum of Modern Art of favoring male artists. They pointed out that the museum included 165 artists in a major exhibition that year. Only 13 of them were women.

The Guerrilla Girls’ posters often look like public service announcements or advertisements. The Guerrilla Girls use bold type and incorporate humor and data to make a statement. “We’re trying to change people’s minds by using facts that they maybe won’t have seen and presenting them in an interesting way,” explains the Guerrilla Girl who calls herself Käthe Kollwitz.

More than 30 years later, the group’s core message is still about inequality in the arts. They created the poster above in 2015, demonstrating that women are still under-represented in big museum shows. But something has changed since 1985: Today, the Guerrilla Girls’ posters hang in the museums that they criticize.

Many critics say that by allowing museums to show their work, the Guerrilla Girls have sold out. Others argue that if curators display the Guerrilla Girls’ posters in museums, their work itself has become art. Even members of the collective aren’t sure if they’re producing art. “We would always talk about whether what we were doing was politics or art,” explains Guerrilla Girl Frida Kahlo. “We could never agree on it.”

What do you think? Are the Guerrilla Girls artists, activists, or both?

CRAFT AN ARGUMENT
1. Why might the Guerrilla Girls be considered artists?
2. Why might the Guerrilla Girls be considered activists?
3. Are the Guerrilla Girls artists, activists, or both? Why?


I think they are activists because they are trying to make a statement by posting their posters in different museums that have paintings from more male then female artists.
Posted by: Gigi D. | September 26, 2016 at 7:55 PM
I think they're both. They have tried once and didn't succeed so they're trying again which means they want to succeed and become an artist. I think they could have a chance if they would be patient and do something that will help them. They could come up with a better idea which might help them out. I also think that is they can get sold out they could become pretty big/good artists.
Posted by: Ashlee H. | September 26, 2016 at 7:55 PM
I think that they are artists because there stuff is hanging up in a art museums and if they weren't artists then it wouldn't be there...unless they payed them a lot of money.
Posted by: Amber H. | September 26, 2016 at 7:55 PM
I think they are activists, they just want attention.
Posted by: Jessica L. | September 26, 2016 at 7:55 PM
1. They are artists because the posters are in museums 2. They are activists because their posters look like psa's or advertisements. 3. Artists, their posters are fun to look at but actually have a meaning
Posted by: Zoee G. | September 26, 2016 at 7:56 PM
1. They made a poster that technically is art because its a "picture". It depends on how you take the idea/topic of art. 2. Because they trying to make a point and fight for there rights. There art trying to 'fight' about the museum favoriting men artists. 3. I think the Guerrilla Girls are a little bit of both in some ways. Because they could be trying to make a point and starting a rally, or just making art.
Posted by: Emma K. | September 26, 2016 at 7:57 PM
I don't think that the Guerrilla Girls are artists because all they did was make a poster about how men and woman are not equally treated. They helped both men and women get their art favored. neither because they didn't make art.
Posted by: Tayler M. | September 26, 2016 at 7:57 PM
They are creating art to show others. They show others what they want them to see. They are making their art for women's equality. They want more women artists to be shown. They are both. Because not only are they making art for the people they are also acting out about what they want people to know. They want more women's art in big museums.
Posted by: Marlene F. | September 26, 2016 at 7:57 PM
1. Because they are artists in there own way. 2. Because they like to do things for there career. 3. Both because they don't need paint to be an artists
Posted by: Ben M. | September 26, 2016 at 7:58 PM
1) I think that they are artists, because they made a poster, and created it, and put color, and detail on it. Thats considered art. Making something, and putting it together is considered art. I honestly think that thats why. Because they created something, and it had something to do with art, and people liked it. 2) Because, an activists is a person who campaigns into some kind of social change. It's something to be used as with posters, and other things. Their puttting something and making it a commutunity thing. 3) I think that the Guerrilla's are both. I think that because they both have the ideas of the both things. (if that makes sense). Because as I said before, it;s something that is put together made into a communtiy "presentation" and it has art on it. It makes sense, because just honestly I think their both.
Posted by: Tejanna H. | September 26, 2016 at 7:58 PM
They are considered artists because they are creative. Anyone who is creative is an artist. I think that they are activists because they are trying to change the way people look at it Because they just are. It is as simple as that.
Posted by: Jace H. | September 26, 2016 at 7:59 PM
I think that the Guerrilla girls are both. Still, I will be writing about all three of what they may or may not be. 1. The Guerrilla girls are artists, because they make art of their own, in words, and with their Guerrilla masks :). They don't have to be doing what they are doing, yet they still are, and are doing it for art. 2. They are activists, because they are trying to change something with words, not going to the courthouse, or something similar to that. 3. They are both, because they are trying to create change, but are also using art.
Posted by: Anna S. | September 26, 2016 at 7:59 PM
1-They make posters for the public to see. 2-They are trying to change people's mind, and make sure there is more equality in the art world. 3-They are both, because they make art work, and try to change people's mind of women artists.
Posted by: Logan B. | September 26, 2016 at 7:59 PM
they could be artists because people like their pictures and items, they could be activists because they want to have a say in this situation they want to be heard and will stand for it. They are both, people have different opinions on them.
Posted by: Hunter G. | September 26, 2016 at 8:01 PM
They might be considered artists because of all of the posters they make and because they are mad because male art was in the museums more than female art.Because the whole reason why they started it was because of more males in museums than females.I think they are just activists because like i said the only reason why they started the group was because the males were in the museums more than females
Posted by: JJ R. | September 26, 2016 at 8:01 PM
They are activists and artists. The girls made a poster and hid their identity, because they wanted no one to know them. They do know that they are girls. They are artists, because they made a poster and put it in a museum. They are activists, because they are girls and they put a poster in a male only museum.
Posted by: Chauncey . | September 26, 2016 at 8:02 PM
I think that they are sending out their messages in museums and in many other ways to be activists. They are proving points and I think that's very important. But, I also think that they are both artists, because their art involved in their messages as well. By sending out their message of equality for women artists, they are getting more people to come to their shows. The people coming to their shows probably saw their statements and posters in the museums or wherever else they put them. Those are the reasons I think they are both artists and activists.
Posted by: Rose G. | September 26, 2016 at 8:03 PM
1. Yes because they made signs with artistic things on it. 2. Yes because they are making posters to explain that they should recognize women more in the art world and more. 3. Both because they are spreading there awareness by making creative posters.
Posted by: Koal K. | September 26, 2016 at 8:04 PM
I think that what the Guerrilla girls did was right and was glad they fought for the woman artists
Posted by: Katelyn.H . | September 26, 2016 at 8:05 PM
I think the Guerrilla girls should be artist no matter what. They made a poster with art on it. Anybody is an artist. The Guerrilla Girls can be considered activists because they dress in those silly costums. I think they are both artists and activists because they make people laugh and they make art.
Posted by: Lakota.M . | September 26, 2016 at 8:05 PM

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