Thirty years ago the Guerrilla Girls were outsiders, a bunch of feminist artists ticked off by the Art World's transparent contempt and casual neglect of talented women. Donning gorilla masks to preserve their anonymity, they mounted a biting but humorous assault on the organizations that excluded or trivialized women and their art -- museums, galleries, grant-giving foundations, college and university art departments. They took out ads, printed up posters, staged performances and generally caused a ruckus that prompted change, or at least grudging recognition that they had a legitimate gripe.
Now the Guerrilla Girls are coming in from the cold. They're still anonymous decades after their official "founding" in 1985, but in a development that would have astonished their founders back then, they're planning to take over Twin Cities culture organizations in 2016.
"We're super psyched to be coming to the Twin Cities in 2016 for lots of art, performances, workshops, exhibitions and activism" the Girls said in a press release. "What an incredible opportunity to work closely with so many arts organizations and youth groups across the community to come up with creative strategies to promote human rights everywhere, from Minneapolis/ St. Paul to Syria, Baltimore to Congo, Silicon Valley to Mumbai!"
Dubbed as the largest collaboration to date by Twin Cities arts organizations, the event has been "spearheaded" by the Hennepin Theatre Trust, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), Minneapolis Institute of Art, St. Catherine University Department of Art and Art History, Walker Art Center and the Weisman Art Museum. Plus19 more galleries, non-profits, colleges and universities.
Projects include teen workshops, commissioned art, exhibitions, panel discussions, performances and other highjinks designed to "inspire a new generation of art activism."
Walker plans to display Guerrilla Girls posters from an 88 piece archive it recently acquired. The Institute is letting the Girls "remix" part of its collection. Hennepin Av will sport new art made by the Girls, plus storefront displays by Twin Cities youth groups.
Events kick off January 21, 2016 with exhibition openings and events at the Institute, MCAD and Walker. Storefront and Hennepin Av commissions are scheduled to be in place February 29 - March 6, 2016.