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Which clippings match 'Guerrilla Girls' keyword pg.1 of 1
29 OCTOBER 2017

Michael Glassco: Contested images: the politics and poetics of appropriation

"The dissertation traces the tactics of appropriation of Barbara Kruger, The Billboard Liberation Front and Shepard Fairey as exemplars of transgression and commodification within the changing commercial conditions of neo-liberalism. Their works, tactics and strategies are emphasized as points of insight into the practices and conditions of subversion as well as the limits of hegemonic containment that reproduces the political and economic structure within which they operated. The dissertation furthers and contributes to the theoretical and methodology of critical cultural studies as it emphasizes the role of the economy and ideology in reproducing the prevailing hegemonic order. Critical cultural studies hinges on the concepts of hegemony as lived discursive and ideological struggles over meaning and communication resources within historically specific and socially structured contexts. This framework emphasizes the poetics of appropriation - the use, meaning and spaces of articulation of visual representations with the politics - the socio-economic and discursive conditions that reproduce the dominant social order."

(Michael Glassco, 2012, University of Iowa)


2012activismAdbustersadvertising hijacking • advertising imagery • advertising messages • appropriated images • appropriation activists • appropriation artists • appropriation practices • appropriation tactics • Barbara Kruger • Billboard Liberation Front • bricoleur • Buy Nothing Day • co-optioncommodificationconstructed identitiesconsumption spectaclecritical cultural hijacking • critical cultural studies • critique in public spaces • critique power • culture jammingdiscursive struggles • fauxvertising • graphic agitator • guerrilla artGuerrilla Girlsguerrilla tactics • hegemonic containment • hegemony • ideological struggle • ideological systems • ideological warfare • images of appropriation • institutionalised art • Jenny Holzer • manufacturing identity • media hijacking • Michael Glassco • neoliberalismparticipatory engagement • pastiche of visual codes • PhD thesis • poetics of appropriation • political protest • prevailing hegemonic order • privatisation of culture • public space • rebellious bricoleur • revolutionary subjects • Robbie Conal • Rosemary Coombe • Shepard Fairey • sublimating desire • subversionsubvertisements • subvertising • systematic asymmetries of power • tactic of dissent • tactical strikes • tactics of appropriation • tactics of guerrilla semiotics • The Billboard Liberation Front • transgression • TV Turn off Week • un-commercials • unequal access to cultural resources • University of Iowavisual codesvisual representation


Simon Perkins
25 OCTOBER 2008

How did the Guerrilla Girls come to be?

"In 1985, the Museum of Modern Art opened after a renovation; they opened with a big international show on sculpture. In the show there were, I always forget exact numbers, there were almost 200 artists and there were only 15 women, and there were no artists of colour. That was just so blatant and just so in your face. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the curator then made a statement to the press that anyone who wasn't in the show should rethink his career! And that gave us an idea [Laughs] that there was probably a little bit of discrimination going on here. [Laughs]

So, a group of us went up to the museum and organised a very ordinary kind of protest with placards and chants, and at the end of the day we hadn't really accomplished anything except make a lot of people coming in and out of the museum angry. They really didn't want to hear any kind of questioning of the cultural institution of the museum. That's when we realised that most people think that the art world, or at least at that time most people thought the art world was a meritocracy – that whatever ended up in a museum was the best there was. We were not exactly sure at that point how it all worked, but we knew that there was something wrong. And so a group of us decided that day that we were going to figure out some type of technique to expose it and make people think about the issue. And also participate in a dialogue about it.

That's when we decided to have an anonymous organisation and call ourselves Guerrillas, like freedom fighters, and put up anonymous posters in the middle of the night all over Soho, where the galleries were then, that just stated the facts. We put up posters that went after every sub group of the art world. First, we did the male artists that have shows in galleries that didn't show women, because a lot of them had women in their lives who were artists that weren't given the same opportunities. We went after galleries, we went after critics, we went after directors of museums, and we systematically put every separate group in the art world on alert that we were looking at their records and that they better do some explaining. Of course everyone wanted to say it was somebody else's problem. Artists wanted to say it was the galleries' problem. The galleries wanted to say it was the critics' problem. And the critics said, Oh, no, it's the galleries' fault because they never showed any women? Everyone was passing the buck. And we wanted to put them all on alert that they were all participating consciously or unconsciously in a system that discriminated against women and people of colour. And that the art world, as it existed then, in the mid–80s, did not fairly represent American culture."


activismartdiscriminationfeminism • freedom fighters • Guerrilla GirlsmediaMoMAprotest


Simon Perkins

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