Part 1 of 2
Guerrilla Girl: Hi. It's May
13th and we are in New York City and if you don't know
where you are at you are in front of the Whitney Museum of Art and we
are here to look at the Whitney Biennial and we are here to do a little
bit of math. We are going to count and see how women are being represented
in the Whitney Biennial in the year 2006.
Man In Blue Polo
GG: So are you guys all together?
Man in Blue Polo: No, just waiting for someone.GG: Oh very good. Were you in the show already?
MBP: Not yet.GG: Oh not yet, but you are going to go in?
MBP: You are going in?
GG: Oh I am just interested in
what other people think about the show. Yea.
MBP: I am going to go in, enjoy myself no matter what it is.GG: So you go and look at art often?
MBP: I might, yea. But you know just go in, whatever is there.GG: So how did you hear about the show?
MBP: I actually didn't, I was
just meeting up with a couple of friends today.
GG: Oh, alright, so you are like
a curious person, that's excellent.
MBP: How about you?
GG: Um, you know I am very interested in art and sort of how it represents various people and whether there is some kind of equal representation of women artists, of artists of color. Whether or not the art world operates like corporate culture, whether it has its own standards, whether its grassroots on its effects on the world. So that's sort of what I am interested in.MBP: Is there a particular exhibit you are going to see?
GG: Um, we came here for the Biennale at the Whitney specifically.And are you a New Yorker? A New Yorker?
MBP: Yea, Brooklyn.
GG: Brooklyn in the house, right
[End of Inverview]
Malerie Hinorah and Elizabeth Grant
GG: Are you here for the Whitney
Malerie Hinorah: Yes, I have never
been to the Whitey before and I am really excited to see the Guerrilla
Girls in real life because I have only heard about them on the Internet.
So its really exciting, and we just came from Kara Walker at the MET,
what. She is amazing and I want to say that I feel like her work is
exciting because she is r-recontextualizing, she is recontextualizing
a whole archive of work to like re-view the way that we are seeing each
other and that's like reinventing to present so you cant undo the
work that's already been painted but you can look at it in another
way but you can helps people to relate to each other better and she
is really masterful at her craft as Becca said, so.
Off-Camera Person: [question inaudible]
MH: Um, well, I.
Off-Camera Person: [question inaudible]
MH: In a sentence, I think of
the punch line about, can we get into the MET if we are not naked? And
I feel like that in public art statues of like naked ladies everywhere,
that really bothered me. So being seen for something else besides your
body which is always important and still not done enough. What
Elizabeth Grant: Well I see you in my art books and stuff yea, it was kind of a myth. But it's real.GG: Can you name three women artists?
EG: Sure, Frida, Nan Goldin
MH: …and Kara Walker!
[End of Interview]
Sue Spade: I am Sue Spade, and
I grew up in the art world in the eighties then with the posters had
such a huge impact on my life. I was only in my twenties but I would
see them all around SoHo and I would think about the messages and when
I finally had the chance to open an art gallery I always showed, in
LA I had Sue Spade Fine Art and I showed fifty/fifty men and women and
I always thought it was hilarious that people thought, oh you are the
gallery that shows women and I am like, no its fifty-fifty. But being
fifty-fifty meant that you only showed women. So for many years I had
a gallery and launched many peoples careers, Polly Applebaum had one
of her first shows on the west coast in my gallery. I mean the names
are endless but the point is that then I became a museum curator. I
show lots of women as a museum curator. People would write me letters
and say, wow we have never seen so many women in a museum and this is
really great at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, I worked
there for three years. I have done tons of collaborations with women
but for me, I just want to say two things. I want to say that you know
I graduated from college in eighty-three and I have had feminist classes
so I was really aware of it so I am saying for me the Guerrilla girls
brought to light something I would have never imagined was true and
just to see these posters really reiterated the dearth or women artists
being supported and when ACT UP, not ACT UP. when WAC finally came people
would say, well I can't believe you haven't joined WAC. I said I
do WAC everyday of my life. I am trying to be a model for WAC not that
WAC didn't matter but for me it was more important to do WAC than
to be in WAC. But anyway I think that that really had a great impact,
and you have a great sense of humor.
Off-Camera Person: [question inaudible]
SS: No, I haven't seen the Biennial
yet but I can tell you that I have written about the ninety-three Biennial
which is the only Biennial that had more women and that Biennial had
a particular attitude. It known as the political Biennial. So I think
its ironic that the one Biennial that was mostly women was kind of framed
in this kind of angry, menacing way and I think to myself that such
a classic thing. They finally make a chance to show women and they don't
do it balanced and its like well we better not go there again.
Off-Camera Person: [question inaudible]
GG: Can you name three women artists?
SS: I am going to name ones that
you may not know that I think are amazing. Patricia Johanson. Have you
guys heard of her? She is an incredible eco-artist. Ree Morton. Incredibly
important and um, lets see some other obscure one, I don't know Lynn
Hall, another Midwest eco-artist.
GG: Excellent. Excellent.
[End of Interview]
Woman in White Jacket, Man in Black
Jacket and Alan
GG: Maybe she can help you. Can
you name three women artists?
Woman in White Jacket: Yea, Eva
GG: Cool. That's a good one.
That's more than he can do, so you're doing great.
WIWJ: [comments inaudible]
GG: [to man] and you're not
Man in Black Jacket: She started
off better than I did.
GG: So you got Eva Hesse. They
can be a photographer too.
WiWJ: Oh, Frida, Frida.
GG: Frida Kahlo, okay that's
two. Both dead. Okay a third person. Combined you are coming up with
three women artists, you have Frida Kahlo, Eva Hesse, anything else?
Alan: Georgia O'Keefe. Annie
GG: Well you know Annie Lebowitz
is alive so this is a good sign, you know a living women artist. No
I am just curious as to who comes to mind. But that's good.
A: Diane Arbus
GG: Diane Arbus, she is also dead
but not bad.
MiBJ: Well why don't you give
me a few, why don't you name a few see if I even know them or not.
I feel embarrassed.
GG: No, no, no you don't have
to feel embarrassed but what I would suggest is when you go into the
Whitney, maybe look out and see if there are women artists and see whether
that makes a difference to you or not, or the work that they are making,
MiBJ: I assume you have a lot
of the exhibit.
GG: That's for you to figure
out yea, yea.
Well this is what I will tell you is
that we have figured out that there are about a third of the artists
represented in the show are women, um which is a huge improvement since
maybe the eighties even and especially since these are all living artists,
um. In general so it's just something to think about.
WiWJ: [Comments inaudible]
GG: Yea, yea but that seems really
distressing. I mean, I thought the art world was this really liberal,
open place right? So you are an artist, you are an artist?
GG: So, you know how does that
feel for you to know that all around you most people only pay attention
to men? I mean does it matter?
WiWJ: It matters, because a lot
GG: What do you mean?
WiWJ: Like, I think they should
be more known. Like a lot of art is more prone to male artists and male…[inaudible]
GG: So to your mind is art making
male work or female?
WiWJ: Mine is more like a mixed
GG: No, no, no I am interested,
art as a profession, is that a male profession? Is that a male profession
or a female profession?
WiWJ: I think it's both, its
definitely dual gender, its both female and male depending on how you
think about it. There are two different types of art, there is a way
of how male do art and how female do art.
GG: So do you feel like, since
you were saying that you think that the art world privileges men or
at least we generally think about men's work as artists, is that because
of the art that they make?
WiWJ: No, not really. Well yes,
it's kind of hard to explain. Its like ho, I think artists, anything
could be art. I could draw something and you wouldn't know its from
a male or a female unless they describe it, they had some kind of feminine
stuff to it or a male when they do artwork its like, you know, its like
a way of how they make it. Do you know what I am saying?
GG: Yea but that's so interesting
because then if we see that there are more men whose work gets shown
how is that possible if there is no way to tell someone's gender by
the art they make?
WiWJ: Exactly that's why I think
its like, dual power, dual gender, they can do both male and female.
GG: So what do you think would
have to change so it would be easier for you as a women artist?
WiWJ: I think the female should,
they should look more towards female artists. We need to.
GG: So its about getting visibility
WiWJ: There is not enough female
artists, everyone needs to know more female artists these days, to many
male artists around. Female needs to step up and make art and show.
So everybody when they think of artists they are like, yea I know female
artists. Not just thinking, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, you know those
are all male artists. Everybody knows male artists. No one really
knows a lot of female, for example, you cant even name a female artist.
MiBJ: I don't often get accosted
by people wearing gorilla suits, though.
GG: Well, you know. You gotta
have a good, fun time on a Saturday afternoon.
WiWJ: This is not gonna be on
T.V. is it?
GG: It is gonna be in a film,
with your permission. There's a girl behind you who will let you sign
away your image if you're ok with that. Thanks so much for being good
[End of Part 1]
Part 2 of 2
Woman in Jean Jacket: Hi Gertrude.
We were hoping to.
Gertrude Stein: Can we ask…if
they can name three women artists?
WiJJ: Absolutely. And if he fails
the test he's off our trip.
Man in Red Shirt: Gertrude.
GS: Can you guys name three women
WiJJ: I can!
MiRS: Yeah, do that for me.
WiJJ: Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe,
uh Barbara Kruger
GG: Excellent. There you go.
MiRS: I forgot about Barbara.
I'm sorry. Barbara, I'm sorry. Is this my cue to move on?
WiJJ: Guys can we…when you come
out if you could go that way and I'll take a picture of you over there.
You can ask them. You can just stop them randomly.
I don't think they can hear you. Ok,
Shelby, can you name three women artists?
Shelby: [laughing] Emily Carr.GG: Good. Come on you can help her. Think. It can be a painter, sculptor, writer…
WiJJ: How about the lady, Mexican
one. Remember her…got pictures of her…
Shelby: I don't remember.
WiJJ: She's nervous. She knows them.[Inaudible conversation]
GG: So why don't you just tell
us where y'all are from.
MiRS: We're from, all of us here, the people behind you, are from Toronto, and we're a mixture of art students, both photography and fine art, and a number of drama students. So we're here to do New York, and we're doing it right by going through all the museums and the shows at night.GG: So the Whitney is the first stop?
MiRS: Actually the Whitney is the third stop.GG: Oh where have you been already?
MiRS: We've been to… well we went to the Met to see Picasso. And, let me see, we were at MOMA yesterday, and this morning we were at, we were at the museum, and now we're here. We're having a great time.GG: So have you seen any women's art today?
MiRS: Yes I have.
[End of Interview]
GG: Actually the question
is to name three women artists.
Tom: Eva Hesse.
GG: Eva Hesse, okay that's one.
Tom: Susan Rothenberg.
GG: Susan Rothenberg.
Tom: Helen Frankenthaler
GG: Oh. Alright. That's pretty
Tom: It is?
GG: Yeah, that kind of, like,
whipped off your tongue really fast. So how many of those women are
still alive, do you know?
Tom: Helen Frankenthaler and Susan
Rosenberg are still alive. Eva.. Eva Hesse is dead, but she has a very
nice, new show started yesterday at the Jewish Museum. Everyone should
go see it.
GG: Oh definitely. So what do
you think about women artists? Like, do you think that their lives are
more difficult or different than male artists? Does it matter?
Tom: Artists don't have any
Tom: They all have teaching jobs.
Tom: Starving artists is a myth.
GG: I love it! Well what about
that professionalization of art, you know, that everybody has a teaching
job? I mean, how do you think that affects the art world?
Tom: It's a big problem in the
art world because young artists come out of college with the immediate
expectation and hope for fame without devoting time and energy and years,
you know, and working towards it. They want it too quickly.
GG: And also there's this idea
that you should just go to grad school to be an artist.
Tom: What happened to not going
to school at all? Just travel the world and see great art.
GG: I'm with you! I'm with
you [laughs] Right on.
Tom: You must be an artist.
GG: I am an artist, and
I did travel the world, it's true. So are you expecting to see any
women's art when you go into the show today?
Tom: I've been to see the Biennial
Tom: I think it's probably the
most disappointing Biennial I've ever seen.
Tom: Uh, the curators. I think
they're a little too anxious. The impetus to make a discovery, somehow,
is driving rather than supporting those who've matured and… showing
real promise. I think it's a lack of maturity in the curators.
GG: Huh. Interesting. Interesting.
Tom: [inaudible] I'm sorry.
I'm disappointed in them… we've had some really good ones. I don't
think this is one of them.
Tom: A couple of years ago, [Susan
Say], is that her name? She was in a show. There was a great discovery.
She's a very good sculptor and she's doing some great new work.
She has a great future ahead of her.
Tom: Not just finding them, but
supporting American artists. It's the only biennial that supports
American artists. When was the last time you seen Jasper Johns in a
biennial? Granted, he doesn't need to be discovered. He's still
an American artist and he's doing things. Sometimes he needs… sometimes
he needs to be in there just so we remember these people.
Tom: I think it's an interesting
idea. I don't think it's necessary. This should be for American
art. There's enough biennials around the world.
Tom: My name's Tom.
[End of Interview]
Stacey Van Sulkema
GG: So mostly we're asking people
as they go in if they can name three women artists.
Stacey Van Sulkema: Uh yeah I
can. Faith Wilding… um, matter of fact she was part of the Sacramento
school when you guys started. God, off the top of my head it's hard!
SVS: Judith Butler, um… yes
of course it's hard because, I mean, the percentage of women is still
down to what? Nil? It hasn't really changed all that much.
GG: Well apparently in this show
a third of the artists are women.
GG: Yeah, that's what the data
shows, which, you know, is an improvement.
SVS: It's an improvement but
it still sucks.
SVS: In general, there's a third
of women represented?
GG: In this particular show. That's
the statistics that we found, is that a third of the artists in this
show are women. That doesn't include the collectives, cause there
are eight collectives, but we don't know exactly who makes them up.
And then a third of those women are international artists, not American.
SVS: Right, they're not even
American. Yep. I am with you 100%, and I'm one. I'm one of those
SVS: Well yeah, okay, I can name
myself… Miriam Schapiro, yeah I can name more than that, but I happen
to know because I've studied this.
SVS: Are you kidding? I feel it's
nearly impossible for women. You know, especially single white mothers,
single black mothers, you know… mothers! Mothers, it's really hard.
Cause I'm a single parent and a woman, and, you know, just the devote
the kind of time you need to, to get yourself out there as a woman is
nearly impossible… unless you've got tons of money and you can have
somebody care for your child, you can bring your child along or whatever…
you, you just… you can't be more than one person.
GG: So the art world's not a
very child-friendly workplace?
SVS: No! Not at all! Do you think
GG: No, I don't think so.
SVS: No… It's nearly imp-,
no it's horrible.
SVS: Um I've had up to three
GG: Wow, so that's a huge obstacle.
SVS: A huge
obstacle. And then, you know, trying to get my master's during all
that, and take care of a household, and a family, my grandmother was
living with me at the time. It was… I mean, I nearly had a nervous
breakdown cause I was on a time schedule. I had to get so much down
by a certain time.
GG: Do a lot of people that think
it's easier now or that gender makes no difference?
SVS: Well, then they haven't
been looking around [laughs] or paying very much attention.
SVS: Um, no I haven't seen it
and I'm lucky to be on the guest list. Um… I haven't seen it.
I'm expecting it to be another biennial.
SVS: That means that some of the
stuff is going to be really awful and over the top [laughs] and some
art is going to be great, you know? We'll see.
SVS: Sure. [Stacey Van Sulkema].
[End of Interview]
GG: We're trying to find out
from folks if they can name three women artists. So can you?
Kelly Jones: Ok you're talking
to the wrong person. But [inaudible] Lorna Simpson, Cindy Sherman, Kiki
Smith… keep going?
GG: Keep going. That's great.
It's good to know there are some people out there. Not every art historian
could actually name women artists.
KJ: Sad. I teach at Yale University.
So you're talking to the wrong person.
GG: No, not at all. So you're
going to the Whitney Biennial. Have you seen the show already?
KJ: No this is my first time.
KJ: Uh, well, it's always a
new look, so I look forward to that.
KJ: There could always be more
diversity in the art world in general… race, gender, everything.
KJ: Oh sure. Of course.
GG: Well why?
KJ: Because things change slower
than we think. But there's still change. There's still progress.
I mean, if you look back at history and you look to now, you can see
there is progress. But it's always slower, than, perhaps we want.
GG: As an art historian and as
a woman, what do you think about the work of, you know, madcap masked
avengers like the Guerrilla Girls? I mean, is our job done? Do we still
need to be out here?
KJ: Obviously not, if you're
out here, right? No, there's always room for people to push a little
more, I think. I mean, utopia… are we at utopia? No. So until then,
you're still welcome.
GG: And what do you think now
are issues that are most relevant to the art world that need to be pushed
that maybe aren't getting dealt with?
KJ: You know, just cont-, continuing
ideas of diversifying and everything, you know… teaching students,
[Interview gets cut off; volume is shaky]
KJ: You know, yes and no. I mean,
I think there's always spaces where people can be avant-garde or be,
you know, on the edge. I mean, I, I wouldn't… there's always going
to be… you know, you break down one barrier and another one pops up.
I mean, I think that's, to me, looking at it in a long way and that
is part of it and there are always edges where people can, um, change
things, I think. I don't think… you know, yes, is it different
from 1960s, 1950s? Sure. But… I don't know. I mean it's always
going to change.
KJ: [hesitating] my name is Kelly
[End of Interview]
Man with Eye-Patch
Man with Eye Patch: Yes, Marilyn
Minter is one, [inaudible], there quite are a lot. It's not quite
fifty percent, though. But I sometimes wonder if we need to, if we're
onto everybody is represented to the exact percentage that they are
in the population, because that would be a world of, uh… tokenism,
it seems to me, I don't know. You may have a different view on that.
GG: We understand tokenism.
MwEP: Right, but do you like tokenism?
Should there be exact correlations between the number of people…
GG: No, but should it be
closer to be reality. It may not be 100%, but at least closer.
MwEP: But also, for instance [inaudible]
women are in a position of some prominence on the poster, which might
make up for that a little bit.
MwEP: Well if you get higher profiling,
if you're higher on the billing… for instance, movie stars always
have these big fights about whose top of the billing. Anyway, I'm
not the curator. I'm just trying to speculate about what they might
have been thinking. I know that… You should talk to Chrissie Iles
Have you been in the Whitney Biennial?
MwEP: Yes, as Guerrilla Girls.
GG: Last time around we went in
as Guerrilla Girls, but this one, not yet.
We surveyed the last biennial as Guerrilla
MwEP: Right. But I noticed in
the Venice Biennale, you had the first room. It was a very high-impact
position. I think that… as soon as one visited that exhibition, your
piece kind of set the agenda for the whole visit, in a way. So that
was, that position was very…
MwEP: Yeah, I think so. I think
so. And it was also very-from the posters and everything-very high
profile with the message… exactly the message you're giving today,
about the number of women. I do just wonder about…
GG: It isn't a question of tokenism.
You've got it wrong. It isn't a question trying to achieve the same
percentage of people… in the world, or whatever. It's a question
of knowing the effort that's out there, knowing how many women are
coming out of art school in comparison to men, knowing how hard it is
for women to make money as artists, or in the job market generally.
We are pushing for more options and more kinds of opportunities [inaudible]
and that is definitely less.
MwEP: Right. I come from Britain
and the really notable thing in the British art scene in the 90s was
that the whole generation of women became the art stars, like Tracey
Emin or people like that. It seems, I mean I don't know if this is
just a compensatory impression that you get, but it did seem as if women
were… it was almost easier. I mean, I'm actually in the entertainment
business and I sometimes think it's easier for women to succeed than
men to succeed. These are strangely inversed worlds, though, the entertainment
and the art world. Sometimes they don't represent what's happening
But I know that as a songwriter, I've
had more success if I wrote songs for women or with women than in my
own records. [??] had the same experience. He was writing his own stuff
and nobody bought it, but if it was a woman projecting it, then people
did. Of course, that's not a perfect relationship. People should write
their own material. But… it, at least in the entertainment world,
it can be an advantage. I would say. Absolutely. I think it can. But
I'm all for more curators being women. Absolutely. But I shall incorporate
some of your message into my tours today.
[End of Footage]