The Artist Guide to Supporting Women’s Rights

The Artist Guide to Supporting Women’s Rights

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

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.

Avenue 50 Studio

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.

Thank God for Abortion

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.

A partial view of OURs (2022) by Alicia Eggert in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Photography by Christopher Thomas.

Alicia Eggert

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.

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (How come only the unborn have the right to life?), 1986. Photography courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers.

Barbara Kruger

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.

Portrait of Aliza Shvarts at Art in General, 2020. Photography by Emily Watlington.

Aliza Shvarts

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

Alabama: Yellowhammer Fund, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

Arkansas: Arkansas Abortion Support Network

Arizona: Abortion Fund of Arizona, Tuscon Abortion Support Collective 

Florida: Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

Georgia: Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

Idaho: Northwest Abortion Access Fund

Indiana: All-Options Hoosier Abortion Fund

Iowa: Iowa Abortion Access Fund

Kentucky: Kentucky Health Justice Network, A Fund, Inc

Louisiana: New Orleans Abortion Fund

Michigan: Fountain Street Church Choice Fund, Reclaim MI WIN Fund

Mississippi: Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

Missouri: Missouri Abortion Fund

Montana: Susan Wickland Fund

Nebraska: Abortion Access Fund 

North Dakota: North Dakota Women in Need Abortion Access Fund

Ohio: Preterm Access Fund, Women Have Options - Ohio

Oklahoma: Roe Fund

South Carolina: Carolina Abortion Fund, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

South Dakota: South Dakota Access for Every Woman

Tennessee: Abortion Care Tennessee, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast

Texas: Fund Texas Choice, West Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, Stigma Relief Fund, Clinic Access Support Network, Lilith Fund, SYS (Support your Sistah), The Bridge Collective, Jane’s Due Process

Utah: Utah Abortion Fund

West Virginia: West Virginia FREE Choice Fund, Holler Health Justice

Wisconsin: Women’s Medical Fund

Wyoming: Chelsea’s Fund