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The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,051 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Ever wonder about the abundance of naked male statues in the Classical section of your favorite museum? Did you know medieval convents were hotbeds of female artistic expression? And how did those "bad boy" artists of the twentieth century make it even harder for a girl to get a break? Thanks to the Guerrilla Girls, those masked feminists whose mission it is to break the w ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
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FULL DISCLOSURE. I have a degree in art history (I read Jenson's History of Western Art like it was my job) and I am a lady (XX representin'!). That may have a very strong impact on my response to this book. Some people I have talked to (dudes, mostly. White dudes) think this book is revisionist shenanigans and HEY YOU KNOW WHAT maybe some of it is. Maybe white dudes painted all this stuff or whatever. But there are also plenty of facts about women in art. Convents, which we normally think of as ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Megan rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I got my degree in Art History and I had never heard of the Guerrilla Girls until I took a class called "Women in Art." It's a shame that I had to take a class specifically about women artists before anyone in my field ever decided to mention such an amazing organization. Their goal is to get more women and artists of color showcased (or even put on display rather than kept in basements and storage rooms) in art museums and galleries. They want equality and to be recorded in history boo
Spencer King
Oct 04, 2009 Spencer King rated it it was ok
It contains a fair amount of information, but given that it's essentially a propoganda/counter-propoganda book, it poorly supports many of its arguments. The biographies of the female artist are laden with Guerilla Girls' claims, but they are fairly well-balanced with information about the artists' lives. the rest of the book is not so well balanced and has more claims than information.

It can be difficult, because I agree with much of the Guerilla Girls cause, but it's hard to support their lit
Becki Iverson
Feb 15, 2016 Becki Iverson rated it it was amazing
This. Was. Fabulous.

I got so many ideas of new people and arts to research and found this so inspiring. This proves that you can pack a LOT of information into a small space, as long as it is smartly planned. This is also written in many different styles (letter, CV, narrative, diary, etc.), so there should be a way for everyone to find something to connect with.

It's easy to forget how mnay people are shut out of our popular histories, and any attempt to write these wrongs is an important one.
Nov 07, 2013 Tina rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
Disclaimer, I had to read this book because I was running a book club on it. It is not something I would have picked up on my own. The cover alone is jarring, and while I get the rationale behind it and the entire movement, I hate hate hate that they defaced the art in the book. How can I appreciate it if it has a giant gorilla head pasted on it?

The reason for the book is to help people learn more about the female side of Western Art's history. And it does that. There are hundreds of names here
Heeba Salem
Jun 29, 2015 Heeba Salem rated it really liked it
I got the title right finally .it only took a couple dozen tries. Anyway, a good light read that artists, historians, art historians, and feminists can all appreciate, with a hidden 1, 2 punch about just how unfair history can be. Reads a bit like a comic bood, excuse me, "graphic novel", but I enjoyed it anyway
Jan 22, 2015 meganelizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: real-expressions
I mostly gave this 5 stars because I had to read it in one of my university classes and write a short essay based around a few artists featured in this book. For that reason, I enjoyed the light-hearted format of this book (i.e comic strips, random facts, strange illustrations). It was refreshing and a needed change from reading a 500+ page textbook.
Evelyn Waugh
Sep 18, 2016 Evelyn Waugh rated it it was amazing
Yes! A very good brief history of Western Art for somebody who lacks any knowledge on the subject. Actively feminist.
Apr 28, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it
The Guerrilla Girl's provide an interesting alternative view to the history of western art. As a former graphic design major I had to take art history during my freshman year of college. The class was about discussing the styles of art more-so than the artists themselves, but the GG's Bedside Companion is kind of a back alley approach to discussing more of a behind the scenes look at what possibly went on. Plus it highlights a bunch of female artists that my class never bothered to talk about.
RH Walters
An awesome message that reads like an urgent pamphlet -- it could be much longer and deeper but the critical value was obviously getting the message out -- that there have been many obstacles to women making art and getting respect as artists. I'm curious about how a lot of women's creativity gets filtered into their appearance, cooking, home-making, etc. and valued the opportunity to ponder this issue, although the book is quite brief, under 100 pages. A great conversation starter.
Dec 13, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I'm a Guerrilla Girls super fan!
Jul 11, 2014 Kristin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, school
A good intro to women aritsts in history that are often not talked about, made me want to go out and find more about them. However . . . a bit too over-the-top for me and man-bashing. I'm a feminist through and through, but the book skates over why women artists have been marginalized, that it's a longstanding cultural atmosphere --- I wish the book had been twice the length so it could have offered more explanation, more analysis.
I adored this book and learned a lot about women artists that I had never ever heard of. It is written in such an easy and conversational way that you don't need to know anything about art history, so you could give it to a middle schooler and they would be able to read it without getting bogged down in art jargon. It would be the perfect book for your artsy "I'm not a feminist bur..." friend.
Betsy McGee
Jun 02, 2008 Betsy McGee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism
Finally, I got the title only took a couple dozen tries. Anyway, a good light read that artists, historians, art historians, and feminists can all appreciate, with a hidden 1, 2 punch about just how unfair history can be. Reads a bit like a comic bood, excuse me, "graphic novel", but I enjoyed it anyway.
Jul 30, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
A great introduction to the under-realized theme of women being left out of art history studies; however, not for complete art history n00bs because of the name dropping. I would recommend this to anyone interested in feminism, history, or art.
May 07, 2013 Shauntrice rated it really liked it
I took Women and The Arts for my art minor, and this was one of the recommended texts. This is the most creative book I have ever read; I mean everything from the writing style to the layout to the graphics... I LOVE IT!! I just wish it was longer.
Gabrielle Carolina Nash
Jan 03, 2016 Gabrielle Carolina Nash rated it really liked it
A perfect choice for a survey course, though if you want students going into greater detail, perhaps if you have a larger unit on women in art/art history I would steer you towards Whitney Chadwick's text.
Elena Victoria
Apr 15, 2013 Elena Victoria rated it really liked it
This book rocked and was especially useful for my SMP research. I wish it hadn't belonged to the library, it would've been a great book to return to later...just for personal feminist killjoy reasons.
I love what they are trying to do! Female artists are shockingly underrepresented in collections and often unfairly reviewed. I find their presentation occasionally unfortunate, however.

Mar 20, 2008 julia is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'm already mad and I just opened it. I normally try to shelve my anger in an attempt to live a rage free life. Still a little anger at the establishment is always a good thing.
Jan 23, 2008 Liz added it
Shelves: couldnt-finish
This is hard to read becuase there is SO much going on...too many cartoons, pictures and info bubbles on each page, in addition to text it is really hard to concentrate
Nov 06, 2007 Kusuma rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone!
Shelves: favorites
I love the Guerrilla Girls! They're so fiesty, and this books uses fun drawings and humor to illustrate just how inaccurate "history" can be.
May 27, 2008 Kym added it
Saucy and funny female artists use humor to combat the frustration they have experienced in the male dominated art world.
Nov 09, 2009 Hanabrighton rated it really liked it
Four stars for making the point about women in art. Questions asked that need to be asked. Would read again.
Katie Deits
Sep 02, 2012 Katie Deits rated it it was amazing
Great little book, entertaining and fills in the blanks in art history books where women should have been.
May 10, 2008 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting- women in art and their little known stories (funny and easy to read)
Ed Smiley
Sep 30, 2011 Ed Smiley rated it really liked it
Very funny, witty, and acerbic.

It is a fast read.

Jan 27, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Very good book! They have made this book fun to read.
Christopher Tapia
Apr 15, 2013 Christopher Tapia rated it liked it
Interesting feminist art.... but sometimes is so campy.
Mar 10, 2008 missy rated it liked it
I'm glad it was written, but just wish it wasn't so campy.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion 1 4 Jun 24, 2013 06:08PM  
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The Guerrilla Girls are feminist masked avengers in the tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Wonder Woman and Batman. We use facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose sexism, racism and corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture. We undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative in visual culture by revealing the understory, the subtext, the forgotten, the overlooked, the un ...more
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