In this digital age, most art is being consumed for physical possession through auctions or to be kept in the digital world through NFTs. These pieces of artwork will either have a life in one’s personal possession or possibly at a museum or gallery to be shared with a wider audience.
There are many opinions on how art should be accessible, especially works that evoke stories of a current social climate or a call to action. This is where exploring art offline is most optimal.
This isn’t just a reference to guerrilla-street art as a medium, but also the guerrilla-minded artists that use less than popular themes.
What about an artist who works with tampons?
The topic affects nearly half the global population, but most will not admit to having the appetite for art centred on menstruation. These works should be viewed by all to normalise our discussions.
One such revolutionary is Judy Chicago. She is an American artist who is best known for her work in the feminist art movement.
Chicago’s work often deals with female identity and sexuality, as well as the body and its relationship to nature. Her most famous work is The Dinner Party, which was completed in 1979 and consists of 39 place settings arranged on a triangular table for 39 famous women from history. Most of the plates were designed in the shape of the vulva.
Chicago was one of the first to use menstruation in her art. In 1972, during the collaborative installation “WomanHouse”, she created a piece called “Menstruation Bathroom”. This piece is a bathroom that was outfitted with a toilet, sink and mirror and simply filled with objects that represent women’s menstrual cycle.
The walls were decorated with images of vulvas and menstrual blood vessels. Judy’s goal was to provide women with an opportunity to feel comfortable during their menstrual period by having them feel like they are not alone in what they are going through.
Since its creation, it has been exhibited at many different museums around the world. It is thought that this piece paved the way for other female artists to explore their own experiences with menstruation in their work.
This installation was made to educate people about menstruation, and it also had a therapeutic effect on women. Chicago’s work has been influential for many artists who are looking to discuss menstruation through their art while “being seen”.
Chicago has been a pioneer in many aspects of contemporary art, including conceptual art, installation art, performance art, earthworks and environmental sculpture. One of her last works can actually be worn as well as viewed behind a glass case as she re-designed a Lady Dior bag in 2021. Her partnership with Dior provided the anti-patriarchal design mission of Maria Grazia Chiuri with a very authentic co-sign from the OG feminist artist.
For Chicago’s tenure in the art world, it is wild to think we are still having to fight the patriarchy but here we are. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the collaborative work initiated by Womanhouse. Her work has been exhibited in museum art galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
While these are mainstream venues we look forward to the day where this art will be consumed further by the masses in places such as public gardens and in public murals… because if I can openly stare at the small penis of Michaelangelo’s David, surely one could view bloody tampons in an artwork or at the very least dine from an artistically designed plate shaped as a vulva.
We will creatively break the stigma!!
COMING SOON: The Renaissance Period is soon launching an explosive, interactive series to explore menstruation themes in art and the influence of culture in driving a mission. Stayed tuned!
We have curated some of our favs here! Remember, your purchase supports our community to continue to message. We belong. We bleed. Period.
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