“Natalie White For Equal Rights”
329 Broome Street New York, NY 10002
On View: June 5th – July 9th, 2016 | Opening Reception: June 5th, 4-8pm
In conjunction with WhiteBox and Wallplay, performance artist and photographer, Natalie White, is debuting new work this Sunday, June 5th, at Wallplay NYC. The former model muse is best known for her giant polaroid portraits and often participates in art shows with a female-forward mission, including The Untitled Space’s group show, “The ‘F’ Word: Feminism in Art.” Her latest exhibition, “Natalie White For Equal Rights,” will display White’s self-portrait double exposure oversized polaroid images in red, white and blue.
In addition to her photographs, “Natalie White For Equal Rights” will give viewers something new in form and mission. White conceived the show in order to raise awareness for The Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.), a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would expressly prohibit discrimination against girls and women on the basis of gender. The central piece of “Natalie White For Equal Rights” is a bronze sculpture of the artist holding the American flag, nude except for combat boots. Also on display will be books on the Constitution, a timeline of the history of the E.R.A, and a series of re-defined propaganda flags that promote the E.R.A. “Sons of Liberty, Defend the Republic” will alternatively read, “Sisters of Liberty, Demand Equal Rights” and an original flag in which a rattlesnake is sliced into pieces that originally represent the states of the Colonial America is reworked by White to to name states that have yet to ratify the E.R.A.
With her newest venture, Natalie White promotes actress Patricia Arquette’s campaign to validate the E.R.A. Although the amendment was passed by Congress in 1972, ten years later, 35 states had ratified the amendment but three more were needed for it to be included in the Constitution. Since then, Congress has not once voted on it. Currently there is nothing in the United States Constitution that protects women again discrimination and in fact, the U.S. is the only major world power that has yet to ratify the International Bill of Rights for Women, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination of Women (CE- DAW). After learning of this, White was called to action. She first touched on the E.R.A. in a 2015 installation called “Instant Gratification.” Curated by Wallplay founder, Laura O’Reilly, “Instant Gratification” featured a daily performance by White in which she was enclosed topless, in a plexiglass box. Passerby who were beckoned by the presence of a naked women were then made aware of Congress’s failure to pass the E.R.A. via signage. Of her motivation to use art work to instigate political change, White states:
“The Vietnam War ended in part because rock and roll music brought attention to the issue and a call for peace was transmitted through art. The civil rights movement was spear-headed by poets and activists calling out their leaders. I am an artist, it is my duty to help stop centuries of discrimination against women. even if it’s not convenient or easy, it must be done.”
In an effort to complete the mission of the women who marched for equality in the 1970s, “Natalie White For Equal Rights” will also start off a two week march from New York City to Washington, DC from July 8th to 24th. The march will make two stops a day with the mission of educating and raising awareness of the E.R.A. along the way. Feminists of all walks of life are encouraged to join the march for any length of time and will stay at community centers, rock and roll tour buses, and campgrounds. The march will culminate in the nation’s capitol city, with a final protest that will urge Congress to pass the E.R.A. Those who wish to participate in the march can register on the “Natalie White For Equal Rights” website.