Human Interest
Audio Guide Playlist

Listen to commentary by artists and scholars on selected works in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, including Thelma Golden, K8 Hardy, Byron Kim, Deana Lawson, and Joan Semmel.

Narrator: Antepartum is one of a group of works the artist Mary Kelly made that documents the experience of pregnancy and motherhood.

Mary Kelly: I was concerned with something that a lot of artists were at that time, which is the body as a site. I wanted this to be an extreme close-up, so it’s just the shot of the abdomen at a full term pregnancy, and you can see the movements, of the unborn child very subtly. And I just run my hand slowly over the surface, and there’s a kind of, I suppose, pre-linguistic, form of interaction between the mother and the child.

Narrator: Kelly looks back to 1973, the year she made Antepartum.

Mary Kelly: At that time, strangely enough, there was no work that focused on the woman, as mother. There’s plenty of painting in the past that would take that as their subject matter. But actually, very few women had approached this. And, it was, if you remember a period of, you know, the high modernist, masculine renunciation you could say, of anything that smacked of the feminine, so it seemed you know, an absolutely crucial thing to do at that time.

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