Aleksandra Mir's - KEEP ABORTION LEGAL
In 2004 Aleksandra Mir created the "KEEP ABORTION LEGAL" graphic. The graphic below can be downloaded by clicking on it. A little about it's design In Aleksandra's words:
At the time of its creation and while I was living in NYC in the 90s there were these really loud anti abortion protests on the streets. Next to just being fucking annoying, shouting at anybody passing by on lunch break, they also used these massively blown up photographs of bodyparts in a mush of blood, to scare and shame people off abortion. But if you were a New York City art student you were probably so jaded that you only associated this whole aesthetic with bad B movie gore and laugh, unless you were thinking of having an abortion of course
Worse still was the fact that the Pro Choice side never had any adequate graphics to put up against this form of bad visual abuse, and as an artist I was more offended by the aesthetic strategy than the point it was trying to make, so I made up a design that I thought would mostly suit the rationale that a health service like Planned Parenthood provides, and mock the sentimentality around children at the same time
Clearly, both sides of the controversy wish for less abortions, but while the Pro Choice side proposes the safest alternative for the difficult life situation a woman might be in, the Pro Life movement nevers offers up any practical or tender solutions like sex education or support for struggling parents once these unwanted babies are born, but revel in hyperbole, false information and even go as far as murdering health workers. I wanted to counter this cynicism, in clean and plain type.
I used Helvetica, the most clean and neutral typeface I could think of, and picked a soft and calm pink and blue that brought my mind to sleeping babies at dusk or dawn. I initially thought it was a really quiet and relatively harmless proposal but it has proven more problematic than I could have imagined and it has mostly thrived underground. I originally put it on a series of cheap objects like nail files, sewing kits and lighters, items a woman would keep in her handbag but that also draws your mind to surgical devices, the kind that thrive and kill women during times of anti abortion rule. People have been flashing these items in bars and sharing them among friends
I also give the design away for free, I offer anyone to run with it and put it on anything, make money, exploit it to the fullest. Many people have attempted to use it but there have been more cancellations than actual uses so far, so a fairly good measure of where it stands.
This blog post could offer a lot of rehashing of the history of this graphic, but given the election of 2016 and the recent appointments of conservative justices to the Supreme Court it is best we keep this brief and offer the link to Aleksandra's site for more specifics. In January of 2016 the graphic was brought back to life in as a window installation at Printed Matter in NYC.
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