Judy Chicago Gives Famous Artwork to MUM
The foremost feminist artist in the world just donated her 1971 print
Red Flag to this museum.
The controversial photolithograph - and Judy Chicago's work is often
controversial - pictures a woman removing a tampon. It has upset many viewers
for the past 27 years, and will continue to disturb onlookers as long as
the mind can see.
Here's how your MUM got so lucky: Miki Walsh,
board member of this museum, met Ms. Chicago
when the artist spoke at Syracuse University, in New York, this winter.
Discovering that Ms. Walsh was affiliated with MUM, she immediately offered
the print to this museum.
Ms. Walsh was almost speechless! Your MUM
is completely thankful!
Coincidentally, two weeks ago Amy Shutt called me and said she was encountering
much resistance to the exhibit of
art about menstruation she was curating in Bradford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.,
to satisfy her senior thesis requirement at Bradford College. I called Through the Flower, Judy Chicago's nonprofit organization
in New Mexico, for help. Ms. Chicago kindly sent her a letter of support,
and Donald Woodman, head of the nonprofit, and Ms. Chicago's husband, gave
Ms. Shutt some practical advice about controversial artwork, a topic he
is familiar with.
Ms. Chicago created The Dinner Party, Birth Project,
Holocaust Project, and Menstruation Bathroom.
You can see the recent re-installation of the latter in Los Angeles in the
Canadian television film Under Wraps (it also
shows your MUM, MUM board member and menstrual safety expert Dr.
Philip Tierno, Judy Blume, Tamara Slayton, and many other people involved
professionally with menstruation), which you can buy
from the Canadian distributor, Great North. Starry
Night Productions, the all-woman Canadian group in Vancouver which
made Under Wraps, is making a film about Ms. Chicago's career.
Through the Flower invites you to write them at 101 N. 2nd Street, Belen, New Mexico,
87002, U.S.A., or phone (505) 864-4088. Don't
be shy. And now they have a Web site: http://www.JudyChicago.com
The artist has also written her autobiography, among other publications.
Letters to Your MUM
"You don't have to perpetuate those stereotypes
on your site."
I'm excited to find your site; it's pretty darn cool.
However, I was really put off by your comment about 'far left feminists'
and 'lesbians' alienating potential visitors of the site or museum. I am
both and have been able to avoid alienating women, men, beyond, straight,
gay, bi, transgendered, black, white, brown, red and/or yellow. Of course,
there are people who will be alienated just because of their own stereotypes.
But you don't have to perpetuate those stereotypes on your otherwise fantastic
Thank you for hearing me out. Also, my name is not Catherine Riggs
and that is not my e-mail address, FYI (I'm not expecting a reply, but
just so you know.)
I said that because I believe it to be true.
I earn my living with a conservative government organization, and if one
can speak of The American People, a term I hate and which every politician
abuses, The American People are intolerant of both groups you mention. (Read
the article on these words in the 20 April The
New Yorker magazine).The silliness of the phrase is that the American
people are extraordinarily diverse; it's amazing, but wonderful, that this
country hangs together. I think that what I have, as an American, is too
good to lose, and improves through constant discussion and adjustment.
Many of the visitors to MUM are lesbian and/or
far-left feminists, and I, as a heterosexual, somewhat-left male, have learned
in MUM as much as any visitor, especially about people and what they think
If this museum ever sits on the busy street
corner of a large city, which is my goal, my happiest day will be when an
average person - you know who I mean - with spouse and child, gasps at the
MUM sign and decides to go in, leaving two hours later excited with a woman's
world only whispered about on our globe.
Kant was right when he said that teachers should
aim at the average student, because the superior will teach themselves,
and the slow ones will hardly learn at all.
Make an analogy of Kant's belief and apply
it to people's attitudes toward this mueum. Certain feminists, certain lesbians,
and certain other people, me included, think MUM is terrific and must continue
and get better. Certain very conservative folks think this museum and its
director - me - are awful, and the whole thing should end.
That leaves a huge middle section of the population,
who are in many ways undecided. The museum should be directed to these people.
Of course, the museum's collection and displays should be at the disposal
of every group, but preaching only to the choir is a waste of time.
A male German university student e-mails:
Regarding the phrase Tante Rosa
aus Amerika: Here's another one: Tante Rosa aus Bad Rothenfelde. Or:
Tante aus Bad Rothenfelde. In Germany, you will find synonyms for menstruation
which have one constant: the words Rosa or Rot (pink and red). I am convinced
that every woman will understand another woman when she says something
cryptic like the phrase above, if it contains the words Rosa or Rot. I
have to mention that Rosa is a Christian name in Germany, the short form
of Rosemarie or Rosalinde.
About Consumer Reports: The German equivalent
is TEST, a magazine published by the Stiftung Warentest [Products-Testing
Foundation] in Berlin.
I am surprised to find so much about Germany [hey, the founder
of MUM lived there 13 years!]. But I am curious about the situation in
non-WASP countries. [Me, too!]
As for Portugal, I read on http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/1072/cultures.html
that there is a taboo about touching meat. My mother [who is German] said
that meat will become bad if a menstruating woman touches it. You can only
eat it if you have re-heated it.
© 1998 Harry Finley. It is illegal
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