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Artworks by women artists on 30 topics
related to Feminism and Contemporary Art


About this topic: Menstruation/Abortion

While the focus of most of these works is the menstrual cycle, some works referring to abortion have been included, where a cycle of life/death is indicated. Women artists' interpretation of menstruation is not simply a focus on menstrual blood, although the colours of white and red predominate. Menstruation is also about community between women, about different states of mind in menstrual cycles and about creativity. Most importantly, it is about overcoming ideas of shame and making visible a natural process which is typically hidden or washed away. Celebration as well as strong contrasts between embarassment and self-knowledge, even power, are also key.

  1. Canon Club (Denmark) The Defense, The Tunics, The Camp - part of Damebilleder/Ladies Pictures (1970) one of the performances from this larger project of different "pictures"/actions/performances      

  2. Judy Chicago (USA) Red Flag (1971) photo-lithograph  51 x 61 cm / 20 x 24    

  3. Anne Bean, Suzy Adderley, Becky Bailey, Polly Eltes, Rod Melvin, Mary Anne Holliday, Annie Sloane (UK) Moody and the Menstruators (1971 - 1974) performances, band       

  4. Sheila Levrant de Bretteville/Women's Design Program, Cal Arts (USA) Menstruation: A Discussion among 12-14 Year old Girls (1971) videotapes and literature      

  5. Judy Chicago (USA) Menstruation Bathroom, Womanhouse project (1972) installation with tampax, paint/blood     

  6. Mako Idemitsu (Japan) What a Woman Made (1973) video 11 min       

  7. Judy Clark (UK) Menstruation (1973) installation/vitrine, blood stains on slides       see Kathy Battista 'Renegotiating the Body' (IB Tauris, 2013)

  8. Pauline Barrie (UK) Menstruation (1973) print, shown in Women's Workshop of the Artist's Union, Almost Free Theatre       see G. Pollock and R. Parker 'Framing Feminism' (1987)

  9. Yocheved Weinfeld (Israel) Untitled (1976) performance, documented in black and white photos, (Photo: Micha Bar-Am) Dawel Gallery, Jerusalam      

  10. Catherine Elwes (UK) Menstruation (1979) 3-day performance, Slade School of Art       see C. Elwes 'Video Loupe' (KT press, 2000)

  11. Benedicte Bergmann, Monica Englund, Ulla Hammarsten McFaul, Annbritt Ryde, Berti Axelsson et al (Sweden) Livegen - eget liv: Modersmyt-Moderskap-Mänskoskap / Owned by another - A Life of One's Own (1980) installation Sallskapet Maneten, Goteborg, Sweden       see Lena Boethius' article in Skiascope 2 (Goteborg Museum publication on Art in Gothenburg in 1970s and 1980s, 2009?) pp.250-290

  12. Miriam Cahn (Germany) Reading in dust, the wild love (1984) charcoal on paper  4 framed works: each 59.5 x 84.0 cm sheet  Art Gallery of New South Wales  

  13. Lutz Bacher (USA) Menstrual Extraction Kit (1991) a replicate of a self-help abortion apparatus       See Liz Kotz's article in 1992 in Artforum

  14. Carina  Ubeda Chacana (Chile) Cloths (1998 - 2013) Placed in embroidery hoops, 90 pieces of the soiled cloths hang next to dangling apples, which are meant to represent ovulation      

  15. Chen Lingyang (China) Twelve Flower Months (2000) photographic series      

  16. Shilpa Gupta (India) Untitled (2001) installation and video, hand stitching stained cloth on pyjamas      

  17. Pelagie Gbaguidi (Benin, Belgium) La Parole est la Glaise du Corps (2002) colour photograph     

  18. Ghada Amer (USA, Egypt) Red and Colored Drips (2002) acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas 72 x 84 1/8" (182.8 x 214 cm)     

  19. Chiharu Shiota (Japan) My Stomachache (2003) video       

  20. Catherine Bell (Australia) Making A Baby  (2003 - 2007) Monthly ritual, baking and icing a baby cake every menstrual cycle, presented to pregnant women.      

  21. Ivana Smiljanic (Serbia) I Spoil Everything (2004) video, juxtaposing clean and used tampons with soundtrack repeating title, both reproach and self-criticism      

  22. Peju Layiwola (Nigeria) Menstruation Series  (2006 - 2008)        

  23. Zaneli Muholi (South Africa) Period I-IV (2006) four lamda prints about menstruation 500 x 375 mm     

  24. Ingrid Berthon Moine (France, London) Red Is the Colour  (2009) series photographs of women without makeup but with menstrual blood on their lips as lipstick      

  25. Beatrice Cussol (France) No. 489 (2009) ballpoint pen and watercolour on paper, part of a larger series shown as "Rude Girls" 55.12 x 78.14 ins.     

  26. Sangre Menstrual (Spain) Manifiesto por la visibilidad de la regla/ Manifesto for the Visibility of the Period (2009) group performance protest in streets with white trousers and menstrual blood       

  27. Vadis  Turner (USA) Reception (2009) Twin size bed frame, twin mattress and twin box spring, wooden headboard and footboard, chenille fabric and bedspread, bibles, tampons, undergarments, garter belts, panty hose, found jewelry, beads, chocolate coins, artist embroidered gloves, artist made    Brooklyn Museum  

  28. Sarah Maple (USA) Menstruate with Pride (2010 - 2011) oil on canvas       see

  29. Penny Siopis (South Africa) How do I love thee? (2011) ink and glue on canvas    Iziko Art Gallery, South Africa, 2015 retrospective   see Art Throb (South Africa) review, 2015

  30. Vanessa  Tiegs (USA) Menstrala project (2011) abstract paintings with blood       

  31.  Hotham Street Ladies (Australia)  You Beaut! (2013) temporary installation, toilet, for exhibition      

  32. Casey Jenkins (Australia) Casting Off My Womb (2014) performance, 28 days, knitting from wool from vagina      

  33. Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch (USA) Feminine Protection (2015) poster series and object made from tampon applicator       

  34. Laia Abril (1986) A History of Misogyny: chapter 1: On Abortion (2016) photography and text presented in exhibition and publication (Dewi Lewis, 2016)  photo series, 90   

Additional References

Museum of Menstruation has an additional list of women artists making work related to menstruation.