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As we reflect on mothers this weekend — stereotypically with ostentatious bouquets and boozy brunches — it’s vital to remember that motherhood is political. Who can become a mother, and who has to become a mother? Film can be a powerful expression of the importance of reproductive choice, and the consequences when people are denied bodily autonomy. Here are some great titles on that subject.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, director Cristian Mungiu’s breakout feature tells the story of two college students in late 1980s Romania who are in search of an illegal abortion. A stressful, heartbreaking two hours sees pregnant Gabita and her roommate Otilia evading draconian laws and confronting the violent cultural misogyny those laws represented. There’s nothing redeeming about their dehumanizing quest, and in the end, both women are irrevocably changed.
After Tiller (2013)
In the US, where abortion is federally legal but restricted on a state by state basis, violence against abortion doctors is a real threat, increasing alongside white nationalist violence. Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s documentary charts the repercussions this violence has had on reproductive rights. In the aftermath of the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller, there were only four doctors left in the entire country who would provide third-term abortions. The film is empathetic and sensitive, with a deep understanding that a necessary procedure can also be traumatic, and that providing help is courageous.
Citizen Ruth (1996)
After two very heavy options, here are a few laughs courtesy of this bitter comedy. Laura Dern plays Ruth, a young Nebraskan ne’er-do-well who discovers she’s pregnant for the fifth time and facing felony charges for endangering a fetus because of her drug use. Ruth’s body literally becomes a battleground for disingenuous activists, with an inconceivable (to her) amount of money dangling over her choice. The film acutely portrays the cynical public abortion “debate” of the 1990s as a rhetorical football that ignored lived experience.
This is Yuskavage’s great gift, turning upside down our settled ways of thinking and seeing and, with ease, transforming the vulgar and ridiculous into the sublime.
While hardly about the pandemic, or any of the other crises so afflicting us, all are invoked in this exhibition, which is also often tender and profoundly soulful.
Hear from Holly Jean Buck, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, Simon Denny, Elizabeth Hoover, Renee Kemp-Rotan, Joseph Kunkel, and more at this free public event.
These glowing, dynamic artworks reproduce something of Bosch’s chaotic energy, but on an immersive, multi-sensory scale.
This week, addressing a transphobic comedy special on Netflix, the story behind KKK hoods, cultural identity fraud, an anti-Semitic take on modern art, and more.
EFA Open Studios offers a portal into the creative habitats of over 65 artists working in Manhattan’s longest-running studio program, including Dannielle Tegeder, Wafaa Bilal, Cui Fei, and Anina Major.
51 international publishers and galleries showcase their latest editions in prints and artists’ books at this free public fair, which is fully online this year.
Minneapolis-based Chicano artist Luis Fitch designed the stamps, which were released ahead of the upcoming holiday.
The sale confirmed predictions that the painting’s unconventional backstory would only increase its value.