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Gorilla Girls (Group of artists: Houston, Tex.) | University of Houston Libraries

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

Historical 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.

Sources: Anonymous

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