I was so excited to see the Guerrilla Girls in London. I didn’t know that their project was still as active as in the 1980s, or that they’ve been working so prominently in Europe. Their work continues to be performatively scandalous, but this exhibition is rooted in a dogged examination of data that reveals the enduring perversion of the art world: a tedious subservience to wealth and power.
The Guerrilla Girls know how to silence a room. Dressed head-to-toe in black, their faces concealed behind snarling masks, the impression is something between a gang of bank robbers and superheroes in disguise. It’s unexpected when they speak in bright, amiable tones, approaching visitors to shake hands and pose for pictures. The somewhat jarring incongruity in this approach echoes the central tension between aggression and playfulness in their work, at its most distinctive in the lurid pink and yellow billboards that splashed shameful statistics on racial and gender imbalances in the art world during the 1980s.