The Guerrilla Girls appeared to be having legal troubles in early 2005
In all honesty, I hadn't read anything about the Guerrilla Girls in ages. They were one of those groups that always brought interesting discussion to the table and although I had assumed they were still active, I never saw advertisements of any sort for Guerrilla Girls appearances, etc.
I stumbled across the previously linked New Yorker article while researching for a history presentation. I was a little shocked to see that the Guerrilla Girls are actually involved in such a legal battle...especially since it appears they are involved in a legal battle with each other.
Then my professor, Judith Roy, mentioned something that I had not even contemplated previously. The two members that are actually suing were members of the Guerrilla Girls from the inception of the group. These are women who wanted to focus on issues of sexism and racism in the art world. These are women who wanted to topple the 'isms' for the benefit of not only themselves but also for the benefit of future artists.
It's not as though the Guerrilla Girls had no impact. They certainly did have an impact, however, racism and sexim still pervade the art world. The Guerrilla Girls even discussed this fact themselves in their book, The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art. This isn't for lack of trying on the behalf of groups such as the Guerrilla Girls--it's because sexism and racism are mindsets that have proven to be difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible, to erase.
The Guerrilla Girls did a lot to combat racism and sexism in the art world. Just exposing the issue is doing more than nothing--and the Guerrilla Girls took it a step further by calling out galleries, auction houses, art critics, and art collectors alike for their discriminatory policies.
It seems that as time has moved on, the art world has stopped evaluating racism and sexism within itself--and the focus of the Guerrilla Girls has changed as well. Their last book, Bitches, Bimbos, and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls' Illustrated Guide to Female Stereotypes, is just one example of their departure from their original goal. Their website also has a parody of the color-coded terror alert released by the Bush administration that is visible here.
It's not that I think that such change is a bad thing. First of all, sexism and racism in all areas of life form a connected force that is harmful to everyone. Second, I love what the Guerrilla Girls bring to the table. They make feminism fun. They prove that feminists actually do have a sense of humor and that humor can be infused into all areas of life--even areas that are very serious. It just seems that this could be something that would be upsetting to original members of the Guerrilla Girls, especially since sexism and racism are still pervasive forces in the art industry.
Hopefully, the Guerrilla Girls will get all of their internal conflicts resolved. Lordisa knows they are still needed--both in and out of the art world.