Saturday, February 16, 2008

Guerrilla Grrrl

Images copyright by the Guerrilla Girls.

This post inspired by fantasies of equal access.

Remember the Guerrilla Girls, who took the art world by storm, pointing out sexism in artists' representations of women and how difficult it is for women artists to be recognized? As members of an anonymous group, the women in the collective wear gorilla masks and use pseudonyms to conceal and protect their identities. They even have a Frida Kahlo. Just as the love letter to an art collector above points out that "your collection . . . does not have enough art by women," I'd like to point out instances of disablism and places that do not allow space for people with disabilities. I have a wicked dream of invading bathrooms and offices with screwdrivers, hardware, and quick set asphalt, making inaccessible places barrier free by surreptitiously correcting simpler design flaws with the help of a small group of other people with disabilities. Spray painting more curb bumpers blue and stenciling the universal handicap symbol on the asphalt of parking places at hospitals whose disability parking fills up by 9 a.m. every day, however, is a vision that will have to remain a distant fantasy in the era of surveillance cameras and my inability to break most rules.

Since the Guerrilla Girls ask that their work be reproduced, here's another of their posters, "Do women have to be naked to get into U.S. museums?," this one featuring an artistically posed nude wearing a gorilla mask:

But could we in the disability community be disguised as readily, mobility equipment marking us, or our bodies themselves already marked in some way? Nevertheless, I'd love to see something similar to Guerrilla Girls' activism for disability.


Anonymous said...

Disabilities and art! What do you think about these girls:
A group in Miami, FL created this project and it continues to do well.

FridaWrites said...

I can't get the "about" page to work so I can look up more info about the project, but any project that subverts the beauty myth and shows the real beauty in every woman is fine by me.

FridaWrites said...

I'll note that I'm being facetious in that I don't see making quick accessibility changes as possible (plus some might consider it vandalism despite the intent and the result). The fantasy of more accessibility still remains in everyday experience, as when I encounter revolving doors with no alternative and think, ???.

An advertisement/poster project for disabilities would be cool, though.

Terri said...

I understand the desire and the impossibility of guerilla carpentry, but some sort of lighthearted (though pointed) campaign to make the issue visible is worth considering!