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Guerrilla Girls
Photo by Gene Pittman, courtesy of the Walker Art Center

Feminist art activists Guerrilla Girls get first UK show

The anonymous group of working women artists will present their first dedicated UK exhibit, focusing on gender diversity in art

The feminist art collective Guerrilla Girls, who work to challenge galleries and museums that don’t show enough work by women’s artists, will have its first dedicated UK show in London this October.

As part of their research for the Whitechapel gallery show, the group will send questionnaires to more than 400 European museum directors asking about the representation of artists who are female, gender non-conforming or from Africa, Asia and South America within their institutions.

Known for diversity-championing posters like “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?” and “It’s Even Worse in Europe”, the London show will feature a new banner and presentation about their work as activists artists spanning over three decades. The findings from their European research will also be illustrated at the exhibition.

As part of the Tate Exchange, the Guerrilla Girls will also complete a public project at the Tate Modern, somewhere the collective has criticised in the past for the lack of female representation, as well as other major museums and galleries like MoMA and Getty.

Last year, the activists’ findings show that galleries were now showing 20 per cent women artists, up from 10 per cent, highlighting a very slow change within the art industry.

In a statement, according to the Guardian, they said: “With this project, we wanted to pose the question, ‘Are museums today presenting a diverse history of contemporary art or the history of money and power?’ Our research into this will be presented at Whitechapel Gallery this fall.”

Iwona Blazwick, the director of the Whitechapel Gallery, told the Guardian: “It will be interesting and telling and I hope it is going to tell a very positive story, I think things have moved on. Museum personnel have changed, they are not monolithic institutions they are living establishments which change, mutate, and evolve as society evolves… I hope it is going to be a good story. We’ll see what the survey brings forward.”

Is It Even Worse in Europe will show at the Whitechapel Gallery, London from 1 October to 5 March 2017 as part of the autumn programme.