Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Is Curating an Auction of Feminist Works to Benefit Reproductive Healthcare

'My Body My Business' will include works by Marina Abramović, Cindy Sherman, and Sarah Meyohas, among others.

Michele Pred, My Body My Business (2004). Photo courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, Pussy Riot cofounder Nadya Tolokonnikova is curating “My Body My Business,” a benefit auction of feminist works by women artists at Sotheby’s New York.

There is art by living legends such as Marina Abramović, Cindy Sherman, and Jenny Holzer, as well as younger artists such as Jen Stark and Sarah Meyohas, with estimates ranging from just $1,500 for a 1987 Sherman photograph to as high as $35,000 for Stark’s animated NFT Cosmic Bloom. Proceeds will support Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other organizations that provide sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion access.

“I spent two years in jail fighting for feminism in Russia, and it hurts me to see reproductive rights being taken away in the U.S.,” Tolokonnikova said in a statement.

The artist has previously raised money for the Center for Reproductive Rights through an NFT sale with TikTok star Salem Ilese’s viral song “Crypto Boy,” and for her own reproductive rights charity portal, LegalAbortion.Eth, through the Matriarchy Now project with Rolling Stone photographer Ellen von Unwerth. (The latter also has work in “My Body My Business.”)

Ellen von Unwerth, <em>Crash, New York</em> (2004). Photo courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Ellen von Unwerth, Crash, New York (2004). Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

The Sotheby’s sale, which kicks off on March 7 and runs through March 14, is a collaboration between the auction house and Unicorn DAO, Tolokonnikova’s initiative to support Web3 art by women-identifying and LGBTQ+ artists, who make up only five percent of digital art sales.

Featuring both physical and digital art, the sale will offer NFTs by pioneering crypto artist Olive Allen and the Rewind Collective, which offered free art historically-inspired NFTs at a 2021 Christie’s sale of work by female Abstract Expressionists. Bridging the divide between the two realms will be a print by Nancy Baker Cahill titled Slipstream Series, Terrortory, which comes with an accompanying NFT.

To help the organization raise money in the crypto space, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has created its own crypto wallet, PPFA.eth, courtesy of the blockchain-based 501(c)(3) charity Endaoment.

Jen Stark, <em>Cosmic Bloom<em>. Courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Jen Stark, Cosmic Bloom. Courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

“In these unprecedented times, it’s essential for people to band together in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights—including abortion access,” Dawn Laguens, chief of global strategy and innovation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, noting the support the organization has “received from leaders within the tech space.”

Though Pussy Riot is known for their performance art, Tolokonnikova is contributing a new sculptural work, Fragile Masculinity Genesis, of a candle in the shape of an eggplant emoji, to the auction.

The artist has also made a video, titled Nadya Means Hope, in which she wears a white balaclava and lights the candle. London’s Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts will screen the work on digital billboards in London, New York, and Los Angeles from March 8 through April 5.

Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova), <em>Nadya Means Hope</em>. Photo courtesy of CIRCA, London.

Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova), Nadya Means Hope. Photo courtesy of CIRCA, London.

The Sotheby’s auction takes its name from a neon pink light work by activist artist Michele Pred. She coined the titular phrase at former President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, carrying a police body shield emblazoned with the words “My Body My Business.”

“We are in a state of emergency for bodily autonomy in this country,” Pred said in a statement. “It is urgent that everybody gets involved in reproductive justice by voting, donating their time (or money), and marching on the streets!”

Michele Pred, <em>My Pussy My Riot</em>. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Michele Pred, My Pussy My Riot. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

Pred and Tolokonnikova will be in conversation at a launch event for the sale Sotheby’s on Tuesday, March 7. And on International Women’s Day, Pred will be staging one of her participatory feminist art parades at the U.N. with other activist artists.

They will also be launching a 48-hour Instagram auction for a collaborative work, My Pussy My Riot, one of Pred’s signature neon-illuminated handbags, with the light-up title phrase courtesy of Tolokonnikova. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds.


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