In 1985, on the walls of New York’s districts Soho and East Village, many posters condemning the marginalisation of women in arts were hung up. They addressed the previous rules of creating museum collections (the selection of works) and the ways of treating female artists by curators or critics. They were created by an anonymous group called Guerilla Girls. The posters made some people laugh, others were outraged by them, but it was only the beginning of the group’s recognition and… a problem! Through their mocking pieces, the Guerilla Girls tried to spread awareness of the cultural world on how the work of female artists is perceived.
In 2007, 21 donors of the National Gallery of Art created a fund, in order to purchase the ‘Most Wanted Guerilla Girls’ portfolio for their collection. It contains thirty most notable posters of the group, created from 1985-2006, one of which is ‘The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist’.
This piece has been the starting point of February’s discussion within the IQ Institute (we met on February 10th 2020). Anna Ochmann presented a short presentation as an introduction to the discussion. Not only did the participants discuss the themes contained on Guerilla Girls’ poster, but also the specifics of working in the cultural and creative sectors. And, above all, about how to counteract harmful trends and phenomena associated with this field of work, especially in the context of women. They were acquiescent that education is the most important thing – both the knowledge of mechanisms of the labour market and their consequences, as well as social pressure on the openness of competitions and the selection of artists/creators, to participate in artistic endeavours (the so-called hidden labour market, the roles of connexions and acquaintances). Strong female role models, as well as the role of networking are immensely important, especially of peripheral acquaintances and mentoring. Wenancjusz Ochmann shortly presented the hitherto results of activity in the ‘Bridging the Gap: new mentoring methods for young creative entrepreneurs in Europe’ programme, and invited the people interested in the role of mentors or being a ‘mentee’ (not only women artists) to join the project (more about it here and here)
At the end, Anna Ochmann shortly described the activities of the ‘Global FemART – Supporting Female Artists and Creatives to Globalise their Business’ and invited female artists, who are active in the cultural and creative sectors, interested in testing a new on-line platform, to join the next stages of the activity (more about the project here).