feminist artist Barbara Kruger created a new version of one of his most famous works in response to the leak of the United States Supreme Court’s draft opinion that would reverse Roe v. Wade.
The new image, made for New York magazineis a recall of Kruger Untitled (Your body is a battlefield) from 1989. Both images are a black and white image of a woman’s face, half-printed in negative, overlaid with bold red text. But whereas the previous image said, “Your body is a battlefield,” the 2022 edition says, “Who is becoming a ‘murderer’ in post-Roe America?”
“The question of who is charged with ‘murder’ will be a challenge to the right to finesse,” Kruger told Artnet News in an email. “Is the ‘little lady’ capable of making this decision, or is the doctor or medical institution taking the time or worse because the woman may not be able to make the decision on her own- same?”
The expected decision will pave the way for states across the country to end legal access to abortion, reversing decades of reproductive rights precedent.
Kruger made it original Your body is a battlefield piece for the Women’s Lives March in Washington DC in 1989, in response to anti-abortion legislation passed at the time. (A large-scale screen-printed version is now in the collection of the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.)
More than 30 years later, the artist, star of the current Venice Biennale, hoped that the message of the work would have become a vestige of a bygone era. But the leaked decision complicated that dream.
“Roe’s end was clearly the result of the right-wing’s raging campaign to undo reproductive health and women’s agency,” Kruger said. “They have been relentless, while the middle and left have too often remained silent, viewing the issue as the third rail of American politics, regardless of how many polls there are in favor of Roe. For decades, abortion has been absent or marginalized in campaign debates.
“Many of those who insisted on not voting, or ‘voting their conscience’, rather than for a less than ideal Democratic nominee, shouldn’t complain about the loss of Roe, because the current court is the result, in part, of their actions.”
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