Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?

Guerrilla Girls American
Publisher Guerrilla Girls American

Not on view

In 1989, the Public Art Fund in New York commissioned the Guerrilla Girls, a collective of feminist artists who maintain their anonymity by wearing gorilla masks in public, to design a billboard. They visited The Met to compare the number of women artists represented in the modern art galleries with the number of naked female bodies featured in the artworks on display. They included the statistics in a poster that asked, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?" The Public Art Fund ultimately rejected it as a billboard, citing reasons of lack of clarity, so the Guerrilla Girls found an alternate public venue for their design: New York City’s buses. The poster has achieved iconic status for its bold, eye-catching graphic design, which includes a reproduction of the female nude figure from French artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres's painting Grande Odalisque (1814, in the collection of Musée du Louvre, Paris) donning a gorilla mask. It also made an impact with its message, which spoke to the lack of gender diversity at the Museum and the art world writ large in the 1980s. The Guerrilla Girls reissued the poster in 2005 and 2012, attesting to its continued resonance.

Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?, Guerrilla Girls (American, established New York, 1985), Lithograph

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