The archive of a Guerrilla Girl, in Porto 
10.07.2022, News

Until August 1st, Rampa association presents the archive of Alice Neel, one of the founders of the feminist-activist anonymous art collective, Guerrilla Girls. Asking hard and revealing questions since 1985.

We don’t know the names of the founders of the Guerrilla Girls, what we know are the pseudonyms they use, names carefully picked, like Frida Kahlo, Käthe Kollwitz, Alma Thomas, Rosalba Carriera, Julia de Burgos, Hannah Höch or Alice Neel. All are names of dead women artists, a way to stop them being forgotten, and a way, like in all of their work, to fight against sexism and racism in the art world.

Guerrilla Shout-Out! Arquivo Gráfico de Alice Neel, is an exhibition curated by Melissa Rodrigues, Rebecca Moradalizadeh, Susana Gaudêncio and Vera Carmo, and it presents the archive of one Guerrilla Girl in particular, Alice Neel – that was present in the opening in June. But, in reality, it unfolds the history of the collective, that using a provocative pop design, asks questions, shows statistics, makes quizzes, and in short have for the last 40 years been putting their finger on the problem. This interview with Stephen Colbert in 2016, explains the fundamental premises (it is quite delicious to see them in an American mainstream environment).

The team of curators wanted to think about the artistic context of Porto and women’s visibility in public art, non profit associations and work

But the exhibition is not only a presentation of the already mythical work of the Guerrilla Girls but also an adaptation of their teachings, perspective and vision to a Portuguese context, specially the city of Porto. The team of curators wanted to think about the artistic context of Porto and women’s visibility in public art, non profit associations and work, so they decided to invite some feminist collectives and one artist to join the team and also work with Alice Neel: Afreketê Collective of independent researchers; the Feminismos Sobre Rodas [Feminisms on Wheels] Collective, a feminist and activist traveling group; the MAAR collective of immigrant women that are artists, architects and designers; and the artist Mariana Morais, author of the project Headless Women in Public Art. A series of workshops, and then some meetings with Alice Neel closer to the opening, resulted in six posters that were put in the street and in the exhibition. This section was named, “What if I was a Guerrilla Girl?”, title of an 2012 essay by artist and teacher Isabel Sabino.

Besides these posters that the public can take home, the exhibition gathers a wall/installation with works/posters of the collective dated from 1985 to 2000, accompanied by the sound of excerpts of conversations with Alice Neel; exhibition cases with editions, postcards, stickers, name badges and plastic bananas; a video projection with a Guerrilla Girls conference at Simmons College, in 1997; and a screen with newspaper clippings about the collective.

Susana Pomba