Guerrilla Girls Dearest Art Collector

Project 1: Dearest Art Collector

Dearest Art Collector 1986, Guerrilla Girls,
Purchased 2003 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P78802

 

     “Dearest Art Collector” is one of the Guerrilla Girls earliest pieces, created in 1986. Many copies exist in museums today – the medium used to create the copy of the poster I viewed was screen print on paper owned by the Tate art collection. The composition was published in a portfolio entitled Guerrilla Girls Talk Back.  This poster reads: “Dearest Art Collector, It has come to our attention that your collection, like most, does not contain enough art by women. We know that you feel terrible about this and will rectify the situation immediately. All our love, Guerrilla Girls” in handwritten script.

     According to Rebecca Seiferle of The Art Story website, this poster was sent to well-known art collectors, bringing attention to how few (if any at all) works by women artists they collected. This piece is an example of how they used simple word and text based design, sarcasm, and humor to point out injustices in the institutions of the art world. The poster is formatted like a letter, in order to make it clear that it was addressing someone. The words are also handwritten (or appear to be), which could be to create the idea of sincerity and also to mimic a personal letter that would be written to a close friend.

     In addition to criticizing the art collectors choices and responsibility in perpetuating sexism, they also challenged gender roles. They poster contains visual elements such as pink paper, curly cursive penmanship, and a doodle of a flower at the top, which are typically associated with femininity. The letter itself is very reserved and appears to not be angrily written. It uses good vocabulary and words like “dearest” and “all our love”. Combining all of these components together with underlying irritation at the art collectors, the piece uses satire to show how women are expected to respond when they are upset – in a dignified, polite manner. By sending this seemingly courteous message directly to art collectors, it breaks the stereotype that women are not supposed to be confrontational or direct when addressing issues, because it is not considered “ladylike”.

Sources Cited

Manchester, Elizabeth. “The Advantages Of Being A Woman Artist.” Tate.org.uk, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/guerrilla-girls-the-advantages-of-being-a-woman-artist-p78796.

Seiferle, Rebecca. “The Guerrilla Girls Artist Overview and Analysis.” TheArtStory.org, http://www.theartstory.org/artist-guerrilla-girls.htm.