About the Exhibition
EveryBody! presents work by artists and activists engaged with the women’s health movement, inaugurated by feminists in the later 1960s and 70s and continuing up to the present day. Featuring advocacy posters and self-education publications, polemical paintings, descriptive drawings, poetic artists’ books and a provocative performance sculpture, this exhibition provides visual evidence of the struggle to define health care as a human right, and every body as beautiful. Everybody!, organized by artist Bonnie Fortune in 2009 for a Chicago venue and remounted at Carleton College, invokes the heady struggle of the early Women’s Health Movement through posters and ephemera produced by the Chicago Women’s Graphics Collective, Berkeley’s Inkworks Press, and other activist graphics workshops. Ground-breaking publications, including Our Bodies, Ourselves (1971), and A New View of a Women’s Body (1981) become tangible reminders of the liberating campaign to empower women to know and care for their own bodies. Artists’ books, an innovative format for processing highly personal themes, add an additional aesthetic dimension.
Following the evolution of the movement, the exhibition presents recent creative responses to issues extending beyond women’s bodies to the health needs of women, men, and transgendered people. These include Constructa/Vulva, a large soft sculpture conceived in homage to the 1970s Feminist women’s health movement, a wall drawing imagining girls endowed with non-human reproductive organs, wallpaper featuring historical birth control devices, and videos and websites exploring gender transformation and other themes.
EveryBody!, featuring provocative and informative art and artifacts, invites reflections on the role of the visual in past and present campaigns for health and justice. The exhibition connects with Carleton’s Women’s Health Activism, a course taught by Professor Meera Sehgal that focuses on women's health movements and feminist activism around reproductive justice in the U.S. The exhibit is supported by the Visualizing the Liberal Arts (Viz) initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In keeping with the dynamic nature of social activism, EveryBody! Visual Resistance in Feminist Health Movements will be enlivened by artistic performances. On Friday, April 1, at the exhibitions' opening reception from 7:30-9 pm in the Art Gallery, Hyla Willis and Faith Wilding of subRosa will assist audience members in creating their idealized vulvas with the assistance of human speculums.
Bonnie Fortune organized EveryBody! over a two-year period (2007-2009) while a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Research was inspired by the curator’s work with Leslie J. Reagan and Sharon Irish at the University of Illinois, and Terri Kapsalis and Faith Wilding at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where Fortune was an undergraduate.
Bonnie Fortune’s EveryBody! Website provides an introduction to the EveryBody! exhibit, and features a Flickr photo stream of the 2009 iteration of the exhibit at ISpace in Chicago. A list of participating artist and activist's links populate the site's sidebar under the heading "The Projects." Further descriptions of the projects can be accessed via "The Projects" link at the top of the homepage, and information on 'zines and posters is available at the "Print Materials" page.
A related exhibition, Rights, Not Revolution: The Women's Movement and Government Reform in 1970s America is currently on display at Gould Library.