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OSU Art Professor and OPEEP Instructor Carmen Winant Showing New Exhibition "The Last Safe Abortion" at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

August 24, 2023

OSU Art Professor and OPEEP Instructor Carmen Winant Showing New Exhibition "The Last Safe Abortion" at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Carmen Winant VF photo

Carmen Winant, visual artist, OPEEP Instructor, Advisory Council member, and Roy Lichtenstein Chair in the Department of Art at Ohio State, was featured recently in a Vanity Fair article on her latest exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA), titled "The Last Safe Abortion." The exhibition will be on show in the Perlman Gallery at the MIA now through December 31st, 2023, with free admission to the public. You can read the full Vanity Fair article by Laura Regensdorf here: “Artist Carmen Winant on Building a New Visual Language Around Abortion” (published August 8, 2023), or visit the exhibition's page on the MIA website here. Read below for a brief description of the exhibition from the MIA:

"In 'The last safe abortion,' artist Carmen Winant considers the labor of women’s health clinics and abortion providers in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota, and Ohio. Drawing upon thousands of historical photographs from archives across the Midwest, as well as photographs made by Winant since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the artist studies what physicians and staff refer to as 'the work of the work': answering phones, holding training sessions, scheduling appointments, and handling logistics. In assemblages made with print photography and ordinary office supplies, the everyday nature of Winant’s materials—as well as the activities they embody—contrasts with their vast individual, social, and political impact, creating a visual language that recognizes and honors abortion work." 

There will also be an artist talk at the MIA on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 6:30 pm, with the cost of tickets being $10 for non-MIA members and $8 for members. Winant’s talk will “build upon the questions that the exhibition prompts, including: what is the potential for intergenerational feminist exchange? In what ways can photographs be instructional agents of social change and coalition building? What is the visuality of abortion care, and why does that matter in our political imaginations? The event will conclude in a Q&A between Winant and Casey Riley, Chair of Global Contemporary Art and Curator of Photography & New Media.” 

According to her online profile for the Department of Art, Winant’s work "poses a challenge to the ways that we understand women’s power, pleasure, labor, healing, and liberation to function, querying the aesthetic and political legacy of second-wave feminism. Winant’s appropriative installations and artist's books grapple with this question for all of its contradictory impulses: the awe of living in a revolutionary moment, a shared preoccupation with the female body as a zone of political strife, cognizance of the racial and class-based limitations of the second-wave movement; the mine- and not-mine nature of historical legacy. In using found photographs, Winant acts upon primary evidence (rather than indexical reference); the images incorporated into her work contend directly with the complex notion of socio-political inheritance."

Winant co-taught her first OPEEP course, “ART 5890: Drawing as Feminist Art,” alongside Dani Restack, Associate Professor in the Department of Art, at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville in Autumn 2022. By all accounts, the class was an incredibly powerful and transformational experience. Both instructors and students remarked on the power of creativity, building comunity, and pushing beyond boundaries. Readers can learn more about this specific course in an article from our Dec. 2022/Jan. 2023 newsletter, or listen to Winant reflect on the experience in a recent episode of the Now at Ohio State podcast (published May 31, 2023). Winant has also joined the OPEEP Advisory Council as a member for the 2023-2024 academic year, and we look forward to having her voice and vision on the council as we continue working to expand academic programming for justice-involved students around the state.