Among the many things I collect is Georgian sterling silver, and one of my favorite silversmiths is a woman named Hester Bateman (1708-1794). It’s not that she was a female silversmith, but that she was an exceptional silversmith who happened to be a woman. While this may, to some, be more craft than art, it’s art to me. Your mileage may vary.
But what Bateman was not is a gorilla. Rather than protest her way to glory, she created beautiful objects, and hundreds of years later, she remains recognized for her work. The Gorilla Girls are taking a different path.
If some billionaire (ugh, amirite?) wants to open a museum to house his art collection, which consists of art created by men (ugh, amirite?), is this a bad thing? Apparently so, and worthy of protest by women in gorilla masks because who doesn’t take women in gorilla masks seriously?
How I was unaware of this protest until now is a mystery, but two things strike me now that I’ve watched their video. First, if they feel frozen out of museums because they’re sexist, why not become a billionaire, buy art based on the gender of the artist, put it into a museum and sell tickets? If Mr. Ludwig can start his own museum, why not Ms. Ludwig?
The second is that the visuals of women in gorilla masks, talking in non-sequiturs about the gender of artists and the gender of naked women in paintings (because artists choose not to paint enough naked men, amirite?) is missing one fairly significant piece. If they are producing great art, why not show it? Why not win the hearts and minds of the art-viewing world by showing their art rather than talking about their misery in gorilla masks?