Document 13: Guerrilla Girls, "Do Women Have to Be Naked to Get into the Met. Museum?" 1989, at the Guerrilla Girls website.
In 1989, a shift in the Guerrilla Girls' work took place when they added a distinct female image to their poster "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?" Beneath the question lay a reproduction of Ingres's Odalisque, a reclining nude figure whose nude back and hips symbolize idealized female beauty. Instead of a beautiful and classic profile, however, the figure has been masked with the Guerrilla Girls' hallmark -- a large, shaggy gorilla's head. This poster was commissioned by the Public Art Fund, which supports public art projects in New York City. The Guerrilla Girls designed the poster hoping that it would appeal to a more general audience. However, the Public Art Fund rejected their design because they found the shape of the fan held by the woman to be phallic. (The nudity of the woman raised no objections.) The Guerrilla Girls then decided to rent advertising space on New York City buses and run the ad themselves. But the bus company canceled their lease because they also thought the image was too suggestive.
Copyright © 1989 by the Guerrilla Girls
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