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Guerrilla Girls take aim at ‘cartels of collectors’

Feminist art activists plan “anti-billionaire” campaign to highlight discrimination, which kicks off in Minneapolis

by Rachel Corbett  |  18 November 2015
Guerrilla Girls take aim at ‘cartels of collectors’
Guerrilla Girls at Abrons Art Center, New York, 2015. Abrons Arts Center
Billionaires are the target of a new campaign by the feminist activist group Guerrilla Girls. “Cartels of collectors get behind the work of a few sel ected artists; galleries are paying for exhibitions of their artists at museums; and art fairs are showing the same bankable work over and over,” they told us in an email statement.

The anonymous group turned 30 this year, and is still raising hell in its fight against art-world discrimination. It plans to “take over” Minneapolis-St Paul next year with an “anti-billionaire” campaign. The group says we should expect more “stealth projections” like the one displayed on the side of the Whitney Museum of American Art in May that read: “Dear art collector: art is sooo expensive, even for billionaires! We totally get why you can’t pay all your employees a living wage #poorlittlebillionaires.”

The campaign is part of the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover, which includes a week-long festival, from 29 February to 6 March 2016, bringing together more than 20 local institutions. These include the city’s Walker Art Center, which will display protest posters created by the Guerrilla Girls between 1985 and 2012. (The museum bought a portfolio of 88 posters earlier this year.)

The group will launch a series of “street actions” involving hundreds of artists and events at major institutions, including the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, ending with a performance at the State Theatre on 5 March.

“White males still make almost all the money,” they say. “Women and artists of colour are here, empowered, and have all the skills and talent necessary. It’s the institutions and the billionaires behind them that must change. Museums have to figure out how to move away from the present market model for collecting art or they risk becoming irrelevant.” In the meantime, the Guerilla Girls have issued a warning to the Twin Cities: “Get ready to see some change.”

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