Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?
  • Guerrilla Girls
    active 1985–present
  • Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?, 1989
  • Where object was made: United States
  • color offset lithograph
  • Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 281 x 712 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 11 1/16 x 28 1/16 in
    Mat Dimensions: 15 x 32 in
  • Museum purchase: Lucy Shaw Schultz Fund
  • Not on display
  • 1990.0051.02
Label Text

Archive Label:
The Guerrilla Girls is an activist group of feminist artists who attack the existing representation of women within the institutions of art. In Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum?, they critique the traditional position of women within visual culture as subjects rather than producers of art.
For this poster they have used photographic collage to place a gorilla’s head (a pun on the group’s name) on a nude female body taken from the Large Odalisque of 1814 by the French painter Ingres.
The Guerrilla Girls comment upon the female body in three ways. First, they critique the culturally defined gender differences traditionally assigned to women on the basis of their bodies. Second, they reject the reinforcement of such differences in the depiction of women as nude bodies throughout the history of art.
And third, they hide their own identities, often under gorilla-like face masks, during their political interventions. Hiding their faces protects individuals from retribution, and deemphasizes the individual, allowing those involved to stand for all women artists attacking patriarchal systems.