Monday, May 24, 2010

Guerrilla Girls speak at 2010 SAIC commencement

Annie and I crashed the 2010 SAIC commencement this past weekend. Here's a notebook scratched synopsis of gorilla masked “Kathe Kollwitz’s” advice to recent art institute graduates.

1. Be A Loser- You don’t have to be a director in the world of collaboration. Its not about egos.
2. Be Impatient- Put on your own shows and projects
3. Be the Change- Create what you want to see
4. Be Crazy:- Change minds in an outrageous way. If you can get someone who disagrees with you to laugh you have the agency to encourage thought.
5. Be Anonymous- Can’t believe what comes out of your mouth when you’re masked.
6. Be An Outsider- Look for back stories and hidden messages and then expose it.
7. Lead A Double Life- Be 4 or 5 in one body. Be a hybrid of an artist not a specialist
8. Just Do One Thing- If it works do another and another. Don’t be paralyzed keep chipping away.
9. Don’t Only Make Fine Art- Make cheep art that can be shared by everyone.
10. Sell Out- Don’t wonder if you lost your edge. Take your crit to a larger audience
11. Give Collectors & Institutions Tough Love- it’s a pity that museums depend on investors. If things keep going they way they are only white men’s work will be collected. Demand ethical standards. No more cookie cutter collections.
12. Don’t Be Corrupted by History- Write your own.
13. Complain- And be creative about it
14. Be Active- example: hang your own tags in fashion articles, post crits of museum directors, leave notes in books for readers, make anti-industry film fliers.
15. Use the “F” word
16. Be A Feminist- For decades the majority of art institute graduates have been women but too few are at the top. Speak up for minorities regardless of who you .
17. Be A Great Ape- And don’t be tamed. Where do “you” want to go?
18. Have Fun.


  1. What a complete joke! I actually know of many who went to the graduation and they were completely offended by Ms. Kollwitz. For example 1. should have been - Be a winner and learn how to work with others. Lead others to greatness. 5. My theory on that is why be anonymous? Why hide behind a mask? If you believe what you are doing to be true there is no need in hiding. 9. Why make cheap art for all. Why not make great art for everyone? 11.Don't bite the hand that feeds you. I love artists they always say they can take criticism but are the first to cry when they are on the receiving end of it. Artists don't realize that their product is art and they need to learn how to market it. 12.Learn from history and learn how to change and make your own history. 13.Instead of complaining come with solutions and learn how to be a change agent.16. She should not mix in minorities with Feminism - we are two separate groups with different struggles. Please don't generalize.
    I think the only real comment I like here is "Have Fun".

  2. I for one was completely inspired simply witnessing an animal masked woman speaking at a commencement for an notable institution. Like art, there are many ways any of us can interpret language. Perhaps if you an Ms Kollwitz sat down for tea or hogdogs you'd find much more in common than you realize.

    My opinion: Criticism is tired. Art is process not product. Behind every face is humanity. Much of history was recorded by the privileged. Feminists and minorities would have a stronger voice if we found more ways to coagulate. Opinions are generalizations.

    So then what? Perhaps instead of picking apart ideas, art, institutions, and each other we can contribute to avenues as well as systems that are based on reciprocity, community and skill sharing.