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'Designing Motherhood' Delves Into Material Culture of Birth at MassArt Art Museum

Joan E. Biren. Darquita with her daughter, 1990. Archival inkjet print. Courtesy the artist.

"The MassArt Art Museum (MAAM) announces its next exhibition, Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births, on view June 11 - December 18, 2022. Organized by a curatorial team that includes design historians, birth advocates, and medical and midwifery history experts, Designing Motherhood explores the arc of human reproduction through the lens of design and art from the 19th century to the present day.

"The display of nearly 200 works includes historic and contemporary breast pumps, baby monitors, forceps, and maternity clothes, alongside vintage advertisements, and contemporary art across media. The exhibition demonstrates the evolution of rights and societal norms pertaining to con(tra)ception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences over the last 150 years, highlighting that birth – and the material culture that surrounds it – impacts every living person. Designing Motherhood at the MassArt Art Museum will bring together, for the first time, the art and design works exhibited at two previous venues and will incorporate work by five additional contemporary artists – Joan E. Biren, Jess Dugan ‘07, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ani Liu, and Tabitha Soren – who join a rich group of contemporary and historic artists and designers tackling subjects and ideas related to the topic at hand."

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