An Empty Frame in Texas

Natalie McGuire, “Bridge to Wonder,” 2019 digital infrared black and white matted print, 16”x20”x1”

Earlier this year, Texas passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country, banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Since women with the resources to do so can travel across state lines, the law mainly denies poor and working-class people their reproductive freedom.

When my work, “Bridge to Wonder,” was accepted into an exhibition at the Arcadia Art Show in Tyler, Texas, I felt compelled to take action. I wrote to the curator of the exhibit and said that, respectfully, I could not send my art to a state that would support a trampling of “the right to choose.” To my amazement, the curator, Dace Kidd, responded that she understood and asked if she could install my statement, framed, in place of the photograph that would have been hung.

This was an encouraging outcome, but so what? Who is this punishing? I decided to form a group of concerned social practice artists. We created a committee through the Art To Change the World nonprofit called #FrameYourRights. Our first exhibition was in November, and we donated 30 percent of all sales to the Lilith Fund, which provides financial and emotional support as the oldest abortion fund in Texas.

Natalie McGuire (she/her) creates multi- sensory wall art that engages curiosity. She could not have done this call to action without the help of fellow Art to Change the World members Barbara Bridges, Layl McDill, Cory Farve, Nina Robinson, Debra Ripp, and Lucienne Schroepfer.