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Guerrilla Girls take on MFA

Anyone making their way to the First Friday openings this weekend (and braving the surprise torrential rain) could not miss the Guerrilla Girls' mobile billboard parked on Harrison Ave. The image showed a nude woman wearing a gorilla mask with the provocation "Do women have to be naked to get into Boston museums?" Nearby, gorilla-masked provocateurs spoke with passersby about the MFA's lack of representation of women artists, yet their overwhelming display of nude female bodies.

The Guerrilla Girls are, of course, a well-known feminist group who have long advocated for a stronger role for women in the arts, and a better representation of women in art history. Their presence outside Boston's prominent commercial art district seems to be part of a larger push to provoke the MFA to action.

It is also a call to visit their exhibition at the Montserrat College of Art titled "Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond" which is on view until December 15. On October 26 and 27 an academic symposium: Agents of Change: Art as Activism has been planned, but as you may already know, October 27 is Big Red & Shiny's symposium at the MIT Bartos Theatre. We will send a special correspondent to Montserrat College to cover the symposium and also review the exhibition in detail.

So the question is: did the billboard work for you? Is the message still potent? If you had a chance to speak with the Guerrilla Girls this week, were you moved to action? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

UPDATE: The Museum of Fine Arts responded over the weekend by tweeting that 33% of the artists in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art are women. Indeed, progress is being made.

Montserrat College of Art gallery
The Guerrilla Girls website

"Not Ready to Make Nice: Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond" is on view through December 15, 2012 at the Montserrat College of Art gallery.

All images are from the Guerrilla Girls website.

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