The radical feminist art collective Guerrilla Girls will go bananas tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center.
Although the exact itinerary for their show is still under wraps, the performers are well-known for using humor to criticize sexism and racism in their appearances. Their artistic revolution — founded in New York City in 1985 — initially criticized the art world for marginalizing female artists and has since expanded its focus to many fields of culture, politics and social issues.
Patrick Alami, the Associated Students Program Board culture and arts coordinator and fourth-year history major, said he has no prior knowledge of the performers’ intentions.
“We’re in for a surprise — a good one,” he said.
Self-proclaimed “masked avengers,” the Guerrilla Girls often wear gorilla masks and take the names of deceased female artists — the co-founders of the group use the monikers Kathe Kollwitz and Frida Kahlo.
According to Kollwitz, the Reagan presidency disapproved of the Guerrilla’s social movement, prompting the original members to assume anonymity in order to protect themselves.
“It was unfashionable to stand up for ourselves,” Kollwitz said. “But we very quickly realized the anonymity was actually a part of the secret to our success. The delicious secret of not knowing who we were attracted people to our cause.”
Alami said the UCSB community seems to agree. Several groups on campus, including student group Take Back the Night and a number of UCSB art professors have expressed enthusiasm about the event.
“It’s going to be packed,” Alami said. “We’ve got great feedback. We’ve never done anything like this before.”
Although Kollwitz was also close-lipped about the exact content of their act, she said audiences can expect an evening of educational entertainment.
“We’re going to talk about our work and our philosophy of using fact, humor and fake fur in service of activism,” Kollwitz said. “It’s funny and in-your-face. Everybody wants to stand up for what they believe in. We’ve developed a crazy, creative way of doing it.”
The group visits 30 to 40 colleges a year, offering lectures, performances and workshops all over the world.
According to Kollwitz, the Guerrilla Girls consider university students a valuable audience.
“We meet so many incredible students, scholars, artists, faculty … people of every kind,” Kollwitz said. “But really, we mostly meet college students.”
Mariel Lacson ok, a first-year sociology major, said the group’s innovative performance art initially attracted her.
“The poster is really what intrigued me; it’s so eye-catching,” Lacson said. “And it’s so hard to believe that women are so underrepresented in the art world. These women are trying to make a change in a very unique way.”