A Meditation on Human Rights and A Woman’s Life
International mail art event and simultaneous exhibitions in three cities–NYC, Denver, Seattle.
Limited edition artist book: lithography, letter press, relief printing, hand coloring. 9.25″h x 11. 25″w (closed); 9.25″h x 21′ (0pen)
Supported in part by Women’s Studio Workshop. 1990
Ellen conceived of this project as a way to communicate powerfully with people in positions to affect public policy relating to reproductive rights. She selected 50 people around the world in the fields of politics, art, the media, science, education and religion who held positions both sides of the abortion issue to receive the piece. The work juxtaposes 12 images to 12 questions, beginning with “Who casts the first stone?” and ending with “Who has the right to choose?” She arranged for simultaneous personal deliveries to the majority of the recipients, including every member of the U.S. Supreme Court and sent the remaining by registered mail. She wrote personal letters to each, explaining why he/she was chosen and, in some cases, she requested specific actions. Over two-thirds of recipients replied.
In addition to the mail art component, the 21′ long accordian books were exhibited as prints at galleries in three cities and later traveled around the U.S. as part of other artist book exhibitions. The book is in the permanent collections of the NYPL Spencer Collection, Yale University Center for the Book and the University of Washington Suzallo Library Special Collections.