It’s an outrage that museums in a wealthy country like the US must rely on billionaires to exist. If that’s the system we’re stuck with, Guerrilla Girls believe museums have an ethical responsibility to accept money only from donors whose business and investments make the world a better place, not a worse one.
Our first Code of Ethics appeared in 1990. Museums still have a long way to go. This monument belongs in front of every one of them.
Guerrilla Girls’ Code of Ethics for Art Museums
If thou exhibit art mostly by white males, bought at the most expensive galleries, then donated by wealthy collectors, thou must renameth thyself the MUSEUM OF RICH PEOPLES’ ART
Thou shalt honor thine employees and pay ALL OF THEM a living wage (plus health insurance)
Thou shalt show and collect lots of art by women and artists of color BEFORE they are dying or dead!
Thou shalt not consort with art dealers or collectors who commit tax evasion, money laundering, insider trading, or smuggle antiquities
Thou shalt not permit billionaires who sell deadly addictive drugs, make tear gas, deny climate change, or undermine elections to artwash their reputations with huge donations and get their names on museum plazas
Thou shalt admit that if thy museum does not show art or hire staff as diverse as the culture thou claim to represent, thou art not showing the history of art, you are merely telling the story of WEALTH AND POWER!
Excerpted from Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly by Guerrilla Girls. Used with the permission of Chronicle Books. Copyright © 2020 by Guerrilla Girls.