California Civil Code 43.3
California Civil Code Section 43.3
by M.A.M.A., (Mother Artists Making Art), 1998.
(18” x 18” x 18”) Materials: plywood box, paint, video monitor, originally VHS tape/deck (later version is DVD), speakers, mp3 player, switch.
A video monitor inside a box in the shape of an oversized children’s block with nursing mommy and baby animals reveals human babies breastfeeding from the mothers’ perspective. The title refers to the California law enacted in 1998 to protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in public. Originally exhibited on a public bench at One Colorado retail district for a group show by NewTown Arts' “New Windows @ One Colorado” Old Town Pasadena, California, it was also exhibited in "Breaking in Two: Provocative Visions of Motherhood" at Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (2010), and “Separation Anxiety” Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Chaffey College (2012)
The founding members of M.A.M.A. (Mother Artists Making Art), were Athena Kanaris, Lisa Mann, Karen Schwenkmeyer, and Lisa Schoyer, with backgrounds in photography, film, installation, writing, dance, and performance. The collaborative group of mother-artists was formed to support each other in representing our invisible or taboo experiences of being mothers. They are culturally taboo in terms of social norms (for example, the sensual possibilities of pregnancy, breast feeding and the relation of mother and child.) It is these unspoken experiences which are in danger of being buried and forgotten.
In her book, Feminist Art and the Maternal, Andrea Liss wrote about this work:
[M.A.M.A.] created a box resembling a child's block painted with images of animals nursing their young and positioned this curious object on a bench located in the open-air mall. Sounds of an infant's insistent cry emanated from the box. Curious shoppers who opened the lids of the box encountered a video monitor showing images of mothers breastfeeding and an audio text of M.A.M.A. members describing their feelings and ideas about the act in which they were engaged. The group videotaped many unsuspecting viewers and their responses to this installation.
Feminist Art and the Maternal, Andrea Liss, 2008. See ppgs 75-79 Downloadable pdf
Click here for review in Art Pulse by Michol Hebron