The Guerrilla Girls are a group of feminist activist artists whose aim is to expose the dishonesty in politics, art, film and popular culture. They wear gorilla masks whenever in public thus achieving two goals at once: being easily recognised as a group while granting anonymity to each member.
The title of this new work commissioned by the Whitechapel Gallery is a revision of their 1986 poster ‘It’s Even Worse in Europe’. In keeping with their core ambition of highlighting gender and ethnic discrimination as well as corruption and injustice in the art world, they present a summary of responses to a questionnaire sent to 383 European museum and gallery directors about their programmes and collections.
What did the questionnaire ask?
- What percentage of artists (not works) in your collection are women?
- How many women have had one-person exhibitions at your institution over the past 5 years?
- How many artists in your collection and/or exhibitions are from Africa, Asia, South Asia and/or South America? How many one-person exhibitions by one artists from this region have you done in the last 5 years?
- How many artists in your collection and/or exhibition program are gender non-conforming?
- How many one-person exhibitions by these artists have you done in the last 5 years?
- Many art institutions never run statistics on questions 1-4 above. Are you running them now for the first time?
- What exhibition at your museum had the largest attendance in the last 5 years? How many people saw it?
- Is there a little-known artist in your collection who you particularly admire and think deserves to be better appreciated? Could you describe their work?
- What narrative do you present when school children tour your museum?
- For museums only: contemporary art is so expensive. How many works over €100.000 did you purchase last year? How many under €100.000?
- Do you pay honorariums to artists when you exhibit their work? If so, how much?
- What percentage of your budget is from the government of your country? City? What percentage of your budget is from private collectors? Corporations?
- Are the worst practices of US museums being adopted in Europe?
- What is the biggest challenge your museum faces today?
- One hundred years from now, will a visitor to your institution be able to say “Wow, they got it right!”?