• BeyondBlood

Menstrual Art: Yesterday and Today

Menstrual Blood's symbolism has been explored since the beginning of times through rituals, arts, and other performances. The essence of the event 'Menstrual Art: Yesterday and Today' was to bring forth various expressions of Menstrala through subjective inspirations for personal and political statements. Here, the 'Yesterday' represents the work of feminist artists who have paved the way for Today's expression of using menstrual blood as a medium, allowing artists to reach avenues across social media.


The event started with a presentation that consisted of various artists who have used menstrual blood as a medium. The artwork spans a period of 1971-2017. In this blog, we present the art in chronological order.


Judy Chicago's Menstruation Bathroom (1971) - In woman house Chicago created in an otherwise sterile bathroom scene, the trash can overflowing with bloody menstruation pads and a few bloody tampons, bloodstains on the tile floor, blood-drenched pads neatly hanging from a clothesline, a heating pad hanging near the toilet, and the shelves covered with sanitary products for mensuration. Considering how little we discuss periods today, in 1971, this was a subject that was not addressed in public whatsoever. The shock value and statement made by this work was immense.



Red Flag - Judy Chicago (1971) - Red Flag may be the first work of art - and it was, and is, controversial - to show this commonplace event in many women's lives: removing a tampon. The artist commented that many people did not know what the red object was, and some thought it was a bloody penis!



Carolee Schneeman's Blood Work Diary (1971) - The artist, Carolee Schneeman, describes the piece Blood Work Diary as a 'record of my interiority.' The work's power lies in the element of surprise, a realization that enforces the potency of the complicated taboos that surround menstruation in society. Each blot marks a day, a cyclical depiction of time, rather than a progressive linear one with Blood on Tissue with Egg Yolk.



Mako Idemitsu's What a woman made (1973) - The video juxtaposes the image of a bloody tampon with a male voice reading from the misogynistic 'How to Raise Girl Children.' In using this device, the artist, Mako, recognizes how negativity is culturally tied to women's nature. The video is 10 minutes 50 seconds long and was showcased as a screening.