When racism & sexism are no longer fashionable, what will your art collection be worth?

This poster “When racism & sexism are no longer fashionable, what will your art collection be worth?” was produced by Guerilla Girls, a group of women art activists, in 1989. The poster not only serves to condemn the issue of racism and sexism in the art industry, but also to make art owners and galleries feel fear and guilt that they only own art produced by white male artists.

The use of typography helps to highlight the main issue that GG is trying to address, as well as show the lack of power female artists and artists who are not white face. The use of varying sizes of font help to convey the audience different meanings for each part of the poster. The rhetorical question aimed at art owners and galleries is printed in a large font, making it extremely visible and visually striking for anyone that views the poster. This helps to instantly get the message of the poster across and is used to interrogate their target audience. On the other hand, the smaller text used at the bottom of the poster to list out non-white artists and female artists help to illustrate that compared to white male artists, they are not seen as much (hence the small font), as well as their powerlessness and weak position in the art world.

The use of structure in this poster is rather interesting as it helps to understand the treatment that non-white and female artists face. As previously mentioned, the small font used to present these artists show their lack of power and helplessness. Another interpretation of the listing of these artists could be the fact that the way they are listed out makes it look like they are names on a victim list for a tragic event. This further presents the fact that these artists are victims of the corrupt art system that only support white male artists. This victim list helps to memorialize these artists, however, at the same time promote these artists by giving them the attention that they all deserve. The fact that they are all presented in alphabetical order also helps to show that they are all equally as deserving and affected by this issue, and that no one artist is better than another.

The use of word choice in this poster effectively instills fear into their target audience, art owners and galleries. The use of direct address, such as “you” or “your” directs this poster towards a specific target audience and puts them in the spotlight. By doing so, this forces the art owners and galleries to realise their wrong doings and understand that the public has their eyes on them now. Other word choice such as “fashionable” shows that art produced by white male artists are only a trend and will eventually become less demanded by the public. This instills fear in both art galleries, as they know that they have to start incorporating art by a larger variety of artists, and white male artists, as they know their artworks will no longer be in demand and their gender and ethnicity will no longer give them an advantage.

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