While the world turned its heads toward the fashion show that has become the Met Gala red carpet, the United States Supreme Court was quietly hosting a forum of its own. According to documents acquired by Politico, the Court has drafted an opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic case that sets precedent to allow legal abortions nationwide. As women, as people, as equal rights supporters and protestors, millions across the country are horrified. The irony is that while being admired on the gilded steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, women were also being silently stripped of their bodily rights. The fight to be seen as more than a beautiful statue to own and admire feels long from over but actions speak volumes. Here are four ways the art world is rallying to support women’s rights to make their own body choices, and a handful of artists who have long been rallying for the cause.
Art Organizations Supporting Abortion Funds
SheDecides: Arts for Abortion Rights
SheDecides is a nonprofit organization that helps women and girls find bodily and mental autonomy throughout their life under the manifesto: “A world where every girl and woman can decide what to do with her body, with her life and with her future. Without question.” SheDecides organizes events all over the world to raise money for access to abortion, as well as overall awareness about the need for comprehensive women’s healthcare for all.
Project for Empty Space is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to creating safe and equitable spaces for social discourse. Committed to cultivating conversations around important social issues through the lens of contemporary art and intersectional frameworks, its mission is to “support artists whose work is oriented around social impact and activism; and to initiate conversations that engage issues of marginality, intersectionality, and paradigmatic cultural shifts.” Within its feminist incubator program, the organization supports women artists in addressing issues of female safety, gender roles, ownership and agency. Current artists-in-residence are Niama Safia Sandy, Noelle Lorraine Williams, Tatjana Lightbourn and Yeimy Gamez Castillo.
Located in Los Angeles, Avenue 50 Studio is a nonprofit art gallery that focuses on promoting Latina art. On May 21, the gallery will open an exhibit that addresses the struggle for reproductive freedoms and the right to choose.
Artist and activist Viva Ruiz’s ongoing performance project Thank God For Abortion, (2015–), celebrates agency in the pro-choice movement. In 2018, Ruiz combined the relationship between abortion access and queer rights for New York City Pride March, highlighting the project’s latest and largest sculptural and performative iteration. The project is committed to encouraging open conversations about corporal rights via rallies, fundraising and other events.
Artists Supporting Abortion Rights
Laurie Simmons, Sandy Tait, Marilyn Minter, Rebecca Jampol, Jasmine Wohi and Gina Nanni
In 2020, artists Marilyn Minter, Laurie Simmons, Sandy Tait, Rebecca Jampol, Jasmine Wohi and Gina Nanni teamed up to create an exhibition called “Abortion is Normal” with the Cultural Super PAC Downtown for Democracy, where over 50 contemporary artists came together to present work that reflects their personal feelings about abortion and reproductive rights. Minter presented her work CUNTROL (2020) while Simmons presented a 1976 photographic work from her series featuring dolls, which she uses to explore issues related to gender and sexuality.
At the beginning of 2022, Alicia Eggert’s neon text work OURs toured the American states where abortion rights are most threatened. Organized by Planned Parenthood, the month-long display put the heat on lawmakers and raise awareness of efforts to restrict abortion rights.
Artist Barbara Kruger has long been an advocate for supporting women’s rights and women’s reproductive rights. In her current solo show at Sprüth Magers in Los Angeles, iconic works like Untitled (How come only the unborn have the right to life?), 1986 and Untitled (Never Perfect Enough), 2020 are on display, proving that generations of artists are still asking the same questions of lawmakers.
Shvarts’s performance, video, installation and text-based practice explores reproductive labor and its biological and societal maintenance through queer and feminist understandings. Her 2020 exhibit “Purported” gained national attention for using menstrual blood as part of her work, as well as using cropped images of Anita Hill as she testified against Judge Clarence Thomas for sexually harrassing her.
Non-Art Organizations to Donate to in States Facing Hostile and Immediate Implications
Arkansas: Arkansas Abortion Support Network
Florida: Access Reproductive Care-Southeast
Georgia: Access Reproductive Care-Southeast
Indiana: All-Options Hoosier Abortion Fund
Louisiana: New Orleans Abortion Fund
Missouri: Missouri Abortion Fund
Montana: Susan Wickland Fund
Nebraska: Abortion Access Fund
North Dakota: North Dakota Women in Need Abortion Access Fund
Oklahoma: Roe Fund
South Dakota: South Dakota Access for Every Woman
Utah: Utah Abortion Fund
Wisconsin: Women’s Medical Fund
Wyoming: Chelsea’s Fund