Eleanor Antin The politics of pregnancy and the future of painting – contemporary art highlights in 2020

Apollo Magazine Jan 01, 2020

Recent years have seen a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, published on the subject of motherhood: Anna Prushinskaya’s A Woman is a Woman Until She is a Mother, Deborah Levy’s memoir The Cost of Living, Chris Power’s collection Mothers, and Sheila Heti’s Motherhood, whose narrator, ahead of her 37th birthday, grapples with the idea of whether or not to have a child. It’s not just in the literary world that motherhood is a hot topic – in 2020 there are a crop of exhibitions dedicated to the subject. This month in London, the Foundling Museum stages ‘Portraying Pregnancy’, which looks at the pregnant female body in works from the 15th century to the present day – including Chantal Joffe’s self-portrait from 2004 – and Richard Saltoun presents the second instalment of its two-part exhibition on the politics of mothering. The group show ‘Maternality’, featuring Eleanor Antin, Annegret Soltau and Judy Chicago among others, draws on the etymological root of the word ‘mother’ and the broader experience of the maternal body. In Denmark in the autumn, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art hosts ‘MOTHER!’, a sprawling exhibition focused on the mother figure and its evolution in art throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

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