• Kevin Luo

Abortion is Normal Art Exhibition

In response to the numerous restrictive acts against abortion passed in 2019 in the United States, including the Human Life Protection Act signed by Alabama governor Kay Ivey, American curator and co-director of Project for Empty Space Jasome Wahi, along with other activists, such as Gina Nanni of Downtown for Democracy, decided to host an emergency art show aiming to provide an "inclusive and empathetic entry point" into the reproductive right conversation.

Image via Arsenal Contemporary Art Contemporain

To setup the exhibition, Wahi and Rebecca Pauline Jampol, also a co-director of Project for Empty Space contacted numerous artist including Marilyn Minter, Laurie Simmons, Jon Kessler, and Cindy Sherman. According to Simmons and Minter, their action are ways “to protect our children and our younger female friends” as they remembers the 1973 supreme court ruling of the Roe vs. Wade case. The 1973 landmark decisions deemed that it is the liberty of a pregnant woman to choose abortion without excessive government restriction, and has came under attack in recent times.

Marilyn Minter, Cuntrol, 2020 via The Guardian

The Grassroot and volunteer-driven nature of the art exhibition movement relied heavily on artist contributions and donations. According to American post-conceptial artist Rob Pruitt, who donated a full-scale work, “Living in these times, ‘no’ is not an option,” and “So many have worked so hard, and for so long, to safeguard these rights that the thought of this work being undone would be a tragedy. I said yes without thinking twice.”

Image via Arsenal Contemporary Art Contemporain

The Abortion is Normal exhibition successfully opened on January 9th, 2020 at Gallery Eva Presenhuber in New York City. Subsequentely, the second iteration of the exhibition debuted at Arsenal Contemporary located at 214 Bowery, New York City on January 21st, 2020. The exhibition, curated by Wahi and organized by Downtown for Democracy, joins a larger wave of art and social project such as Shout Your Abortion and Abortion Out Loud to raise awareness shape prevalent attitudes through art.

Image(s) via Arsenal Contemporary Art Contemporain

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