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Houston Gorilla Girls

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory

Organizational Documents and Photographs

Correspondence

Propaganda

Diverse Works Installation: “Another Dead Horse”

Rice University Installation at the Sewell Gallery: “Been Down So Long Feels Like Up To Me”

Other Gorilla Girls Installations and Shows

Miscellaneous Clippings, Photographs, Articles, and Correspondence

New York City Guerrilla Girls

Guerrilla/Gorilla Girls, Other Cities



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Houston Gorilla Girls, 1985-2000 | University of Houston Libraries

By Jonathan R. Casiano

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Collection Overview

Title: Houston Gorilla Girls, 1985-2000

Predominant Dates:1988-1997

ID: 02/2010-006

Primary Creator: Gorilla Girls (Group of artists: Houston, Tex.)

Extent: 10.0 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 00/00/2010

Subjects: Art - Texas - Houston, Artists - Texas - Houston, Feminism, Feminism and art, Feminists, Gorilla Girls (Group of artists: Houston, Tex.), Women artists - Texas - Houston

Forms of Material: Brochures, Clippings (information artifacts), Correspondence, Greeting cards, Manuscripts, Photographs, Postcards, Typescripts

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection includes the records, written works, collected writings, and photographs that document the development of the Houston Gorilla Girls, an anonymnous women’s art collective that protested sexism and racism in the art world from the 1987 to the late nineties.  There are nine series, spanning from 1985 to 2000 which are entitled as follows:  Correspondence; Organizational Documents and Photographs; Propaganda; Diverse Works Installation: Another Dead Horse; Rice University Installation at the Sewell Gallery: “Been Down So Long Feels Like Up To Me”; Other Gorilla Girls Installations and Shows: 1988-1997; Miscellaneous Clippings, Photographs, Articles, and Correspondence; New York City Guerrilla Girls; and Guerrilla/Gorilla Girls, Other Cities.

The collection is housed in ten boxes, eight of which contain original costumes and installation material.

Related Materials:

Hazelwitch Productions Inc. Records (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=156)

Houston Women’s Caucus for Art Records (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=335)

Houston Area NOW and Other Feminist Activities Collection (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=459)

Norma Lee Feminist Correspondence (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=429)

Womynspace Records (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=430)

Women in the Visual and Literary Arts Records (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=332)

Biographical Note

In the Spring of 1985, the walls of Lower Manhattan’s Soho and West Village neighborhoods became plastered with “Public Service Announcements” railing against sexism in the art world.  At the bottom of each poster was stamped:

“The Guerilla Girls

Conscience of the art world.”

The anonymous art collective of gorilla-masked women that was behind the feminist propaganda campaign began appearing soon thereafter at well-known museums and Galleries in New York City.  The enigmatic hominid-clad protesters quickly gained notoriety and copycat groups began springing up in cities throughout North America.

In May of 1987, one such group, the self-styled Houston “Gorilla Girls,” made their first “hit” at the Glassell School of Art in Houston’s Museum District. They then went on to demonstrate against what they perceived as sexism and racism at high-profile Houston art venues such as the Menil, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Lawndale Arts Center.

The Houston Gorilla Girls’ string of “hits,” performances, and installations ran from 1987 to 1997, when they performed a final show in Verona, Italy at the Villa Carlotta. During their period of activity they became a fixture of the Houston arts scene and are credited with helping open its doors to more female and minority artists.  To date, the identities and whereabouts of the Houston Gorilla Girls remain unknown.

Subject/Index Terms

Art - Texas - Houston
Artists - Texas - Houston
Feminism
Feminism and art
Feminists
Gorilla Girls (Group of artists: Houston, Tex.)
Women artists - Texas - Houston

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.

Acquisition Source: Anonymous donor.

Preferred Citation: Houston Gorilla Girls. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Organizational Documents and Photographs],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Propaganda],
[Series 4: Diverse Works Installation: “Another Dead Horse”],
[Series 5: Rice University Installation at the Sewell Gallery: “Been Down So Long Feels Like Up To Me”],
[Series 6: Other Gorilla Girls Installations and Shows, 1988-1997],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous Clippings, Photographs, Articles, and Correspondence],
[Series 8: New York City Guerrilla Girls],
[Series 9: Guerrilla/Gorilla Girls, Other Cities],
[All]

Series 1: Organizational Documents and Photographs
This series contains ten folders comprised of documents and photographs that narrate the development of the Houston Gorilla Girls in financial statements, clippings, posters, correspondence and photographs.
Box 1
Folder 1: Houston Gorilla Girls Organizational Correspondence, 1987-1988
Folder 2: Notebook containing miscellaneous notes and correspondence, undated
Folder 3: Federal Non-Profit I.D., 1989
Folder 4: Bank Statements and Receipts (Central Bank): Financial documentation, 1989-1992
Folder 5: Donations by the Gorilla Girls: donation-related documents, 1988
Folder 6: Miscellaneous Influences: Clippings, manuscript and posters, 1987-1993
Folder 7: Gorilla Girls Houston Garden Shots: Black and White and Color Prints, 1987
Folder 8: New Years Eve 1990: black and white prints
Folder 9: Gorilla Pictures and Cartoons: clipped gorilla images, undated
Folder 10: Miscellaneous photographs: black and white and color prints, undated
Series 2: Correspondence
This series contains seven folders of typescript and manuscript correspondence along with original mailing lists between the Gorilla Girls and members of the arts community in Houston and internationally.
Box 1
Folder 11: Galleries and Museums, 1987-1991
Folder 12: Correspondence/Women: typescript and manuscript (1 of 2), 1988-1993
Folder 13: Correspondence/Women: typescript and manuscript (2 of 2), 1987-2000
Folder 14: Patricia Johnson Houston Chronicle: typescript correspondence, 1988
Folder 15: Letters of Interest: typescript and manuscript correspondence, 1988-1990
Folder 16: Mailing Lists: sheets of labled addresses, 1990
Folder 17: Cultural Arts Council of Houston (CACH) correspondence, 1992
Series 3: Propaganda
This series contains two sub-series that document the ways in which the Gorilla Girls tried to institute change through artistic persuasion.  Housed within are photographs, correspondence, costume pieces, and original protest placards and flyers.
Sub-Series 1: Printed and Photographed Material
Box 1
Folder 18: Glassel - 1st Appearance: photocopied protest material, negatives, and articles, 5/28/1987
Folder 19: Mail-Outs-Gallery Hits: progaganda posters, 1987-1990
Folder 20: Report Card: manuscript, news releases, and poster templates, 1990
Folder 21: CACH Action: mailing lists and propaganda placards, undated
Folder 22: Statistics: flyers and protest placard, undated
Folder 23: MFA Houston “Hit,”: clippings and other printed material, 1988
Folder 24: Museum of Fine Arts Houston “Hit”: Photographs and slides, 1988
Folder 25: Davis and McClain Gallery “Hit” Photographs, undated
Folder 26: Menil “Hit”: articles, brochures, photographs, and protest materials, 1988-1991
Folder 27: New Year Mail Out: posters and clippings, 1990
Sub-Series 2: Costume Pieces
One box of gorilla masks, rubber stamps, and other costume material.
Box 2
Series 4: Diverse Works Installation: “Another Dead Horse”
This series contains two sub-series, comprised of 13 folders and seven boxes of documentation and artifacts pertaining to the 1998 Gorilla Girls installation at the Diverse Works Art Space.
Sub-Series 1: Installation Documentation
Box 1
Folder 28: Planning Material: notebooks and paper patterns, 1987
Folder 29: Expenses notebook, patterns, brochures, and manuscript financial documentation, 1987-1988
Folder 30: Correspondence, calendars, and financial documents (1 of 2), 1986-1988
Folder 31: Correspondence, calendars, and financial documents (2 of 2), 1986-1988
Folder 32: Clippings, 1988
Folder 33: Photographs (1 of 4), 1987
Folder 34: Photographs (2 of 4), 1987
Folder 35: Photographs (3 of 4), 1987
Folder 36: Photographs (4 of 4), 1987
Folder 37: Slides (1 of 3), 1987
Folder 38: Slides (2 of 3), 1987
Folder 39: Slides (3 of 3), 1987
Folder 40: Diverse Works DVD’s, dubbed from video casettes, 1988
Sub-Series 2: Installation Artifacts
This sub-series includes two sub-sub-series comprised of six boxes of 78 stuffed gorillas and one box of 12 caricature cut-outs that were part of the “Another Dead Horse” exhibit.
Sub-Sub-Series 1: Stuffed Gorillas
Seventy-eight total, stored in six boxes.
Box 3
Box 4
Box 5
Box 6
Box 7
Box 8
Sub-Sub-Series 2: Caricature Cutouts
Twelve caricature cut-outs, 1 collage piece, 1 paper maché gorilla doll, 3 cutout quotation placards, G.G. Installation cassette tape, and G.G.-1991 Burning Bush cassette tape.
Box 9
Series 5: Rice University Installation at the Sewell Gallery: “Been Down So Long Feels Like Up To Me”
This series contains seven folders comprised of the financial and planning documents, clippings,photographs and other materials related to the Gorrilla Girls’ installation at Rice University’s Sewell Gallery entitled, “Been Down So Long Feels Like Up To Me.”
Box 10
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1991
Folder 2: Financial documents, 1991-1992
Folder 3: Installation schematics and exhibit material, 1987-1992
Folder 4: Clippings (1 of 2), 1987-1993
Folder 5: Clippings (2 of 2), 1987-1993
Folder 6: Photographs, undated
Folder 7: Slides, undated
Series 6: Other Gorilla Girls Installations and Shows, 1988-1997
This series contains nine folders composed of printed material that document various art shows and installations undertaken by Gorilla Girls Houston between 1988 and 1997, including one show that was put on in Verona, Italy.
Box 10
Folder 8: Art Car Parade: Color prints, 1988
Folder 9: Foto Fest 1990: Correspondence, brochures, slides and photographs, 1989-1990
Folder 10: Foto Fest 1990 Banner: Large paint on burlap banner
Folder 11: The Orange Show: Typed correspondence, 1989-1991
Folder 12: Houston Women’s Caucus for Art (HWCA) Firehouse Show, “Buring Bush,” installation material and clippings, 1991
Folder 13: HWAC Firehouse Show, “Burning Bush” Installation Material, 1991
Folder 14: Lawndale: Press releases and brochures, 1993
Folder 15: Verona, Italy Show at the Villa Carlotta: color prints, 1997-1998
Folder 16: Miscellaneous Gorilla Girls Press: Articles, guest-message booklets, certificates, and flyers, 1987-2000
Series 7: Miscellaneous Clippings, Photographs, Articles, and Correspondence
This series contains six folders of printed material and photographs that members of the Houston Gorilla Girls saved to be used in installations and as reference material for panel discussions.
Box 10
Folder 17: Irritating Bullshit: photocopied nude photograph, 1987
Folder 18: Feminist quotes, typescript and manuscript, 1987
Folder 19: Feminist Clippings, 1987
Folder 20: Feminist Clippings, undated
Folder 21: Articles of Interest and Statistics: clippings and manuscript, 1987-1997
Folder 22: Miscellaneous/Influences, Articles and Notes, 1987-1992
Series 8: New York City Guerrilla Girls
This series contains two folders of clippings, articles, and protest materials from the original New York City group.
Box 10
Folder 23: Guerrilla Girls N.Y. Backround Material: Photocopied correspondence and clippings (1 of 2), 1985-2000
Folder 24: Guerrilla Girls N.Y. Backround Material: Transcripts and clippings (2 of 2), 1987-1992
Series 9: Guerrilla/Gorilla Girls, Other Cities
This series contains three folders of correspondence, protest material, brochures, and photographs that detail the activities of Guerrilla/Gorilla Girls in different parts of the United States.
Box 10
Folder 25: Los Angeles and Chicago propaganda flyers, undated
Folder 26: Dallas Guerrilla Girls’ correspondence, 1989
Folder 27: Guerrilla Girls San Francisco correspondence, 1989

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Organizational Documents and Photographs],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Propaganda],
[Series 4: Diverse Works Installation: “Another Dead Horse”],
[Series 5: Rice University Installation at the Sewell Gallery: “Been Down So Long Feels Like Up To Me”],
[Series 6: Other Gorilla Girls Installations and Shows, 1988-1997],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous Clippings, Photographs, Articles, and Correspondence],
[Series 8: New York City Guerrilla Girls],
[Series 9: Guerrilla/Gorilla Girls, Other Cities],
[All]

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