As a way for artists and influencers to pay it forward, specifically with regards to reproductive rights, L.A.'s Night Gallery co-partners, Mieke Marple and Davida Nemeroff, co-founded Sexy Beast. This Saturday night, Sexy Beast, A Benefit for Planned Parenthood will honor Emmy-nominated director Dawn Porter, whose feature new documentary Trapped follows reproductive health clinics struggling to stay open in the face of nearly 300 TRAP laws (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers). These laws, which have been passed since 2010 by conservative state legislatures, restrict abortion clinics and doctors and have forced many providers to shut their doors.
Supporting access to healthcare for all, the benefit is also auctioning artworks by more than 40 participating artists, from established figures such as Jasper Johns, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul McCarthy, and Ed Ruscha, to emerging artists such as Claire Tabouret and Margaux Ogden.
About a quarter of the works are brand new or were created specifically for the auction. Artists such as Mira Dancy, Marcel Dzama, and Rirkrit Tiravanija created original works specifically for Sexy Beast. Tiravanija's work features enamel lettering on a recent New York Times article with the headline, "Justices Overturn Texas Abortion Limits," which the founders of Sexy Beast gave to him during a studio visit to discuss the benefit.
"We've seen a lot of political gains around women's health in the last few years, but they're far from universal and still very much in danger. It's inspiring to see so many artists coming together to help push the issue," Marple tells The Creators Project.
Sexy Beast program director and co-chair Eliah Perona adds, "Access to safe, reliable, and quality reproductive healthcare is being challenged in every state in the U.S., and the effects are far reaching—particularly for those who lack employer-sponsored health care, which is something women artists can certainly identify with. The services that Planned Parenthood provides are essential, and the support from the art community to ensure its existence for all who need it is priceless.”
A pair of legendary female artists and contributors to the show are also weighing in on the issue. Says Marilyn Minter, "I'm attempting to counteract the thoughts and actions of people like Mike Pence. He's gone on record saying, 'We'll see Roe Vs. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.'"
Barbara Kruger effectively sums up the feelings behind the event: "I wanted to be involved because sexuality, race, and gender can determine what you have and what you don't, how long you live or how soon you die, whether you speak or whether you're silenced, whether you're allowed to laugh or can only fear, whether you use power or power uses you." Check out works from Sexy Beast, A Benefit for Planned Parenthood, below: