19th May, 2021

'Guerilla Girls' set prepare for Warwickshire art gallery takeover

FEMINIST activists The Guerilla Girls will be taking over Compton Verney art gallery for the annual Art Night festival.

The free, contemporary art event, which aims to transform iconic and unexpected public spaces, will include the art gallery and its 120 acre grounds as part of the programme which will also be available online, from June 18 for a month.

The gorilla-masked group uses facts, humour and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias, as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture. Formed in New York in 1985, the members believe their anonymity keeps the focus on the issues and away form who they might be. They believe in fighting discrimination and supporting human rights for all people and all genders.

The Guerrilla Girls Art Night commission, The Male Graze, includes a website, online gig and national series of billboards – including one at Compton Verney – exploring bad behaviour, both historically and in the present day. In particular, The Male Graze explores the devouring or ‘nibbling over’ women in art history by male artists, or bad collecting practices by major museums and galleries.

Artist Isabel Lewis has also developed a soundscape, staged within the gallery’s parkland, based on her project – ‘What can we learn about love from lichen?’

Art Night co-founders, Philippine Nguyen and Ksenia Zemtsova, said: “In 2015, we had the ambition to create London’s first free night-time contemporary art festival in unexpected places. We were only just starting, working from home and learning as we went along. We knew we wanted contemporary art to be accessible to a wider audience, regardless of background. Fast forward five years, four editions, 260,000 live audiences and 50 major artist commissions, we’re back working from home but our ambition to widen audiences for contemporary continues to expand. In 2021, we’re absolutely delighted to present new work by exceptional artists to audiences across the country, in cities, towns and even villages”

Compton Verney chief executive Julie Finch added: “New thinking and fresh approaches are just what everyone needs this summer, self-determination and defiance are characteristics of this art, and in building our resilience to recover from a global pandemic. Art has the power to reframe and ignite novel ideas and creativity, this programme sets out to do exactly that. What better place to experience this, than the enigmatic natural environment, steeped in layered history looking out to open skies, Art Night and the Gorilla Girls at Compton Verney will inspire artists, creatives and audiences.”

Visit comptonverney.org.uk for more information.

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