Women are being asked to donate bras for the creation of a 40×100 foot tapestry of the Statue of Liberty that will be presented to President Bill Clinton in the fall to demonstrate the urgent need for more research into breast cancer prevention.
Spurred by anthropologists Soma Grismaijer and Sydney Singer, who wrote Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras (Avery Books, 1995), and as a natural development from his own artwork—notably “The Breast: Another American Icon”—conceptual artist Nicolino is coordinating the creation of a National Bra Tapestry.
The bras—mailed in by individuals and collected in bra drives and bra-a-thons as the project travels across America—will be woven into the tapestry. With a target date of September 22 for presenting the tapestry to the president, organizers hope that the public-participation aspect of the project, where each bra symbolizes votes and requests by American women, will persuade the president to earmark more funds for cancer prevention research.
Grismaijer and Singer have raised the question of a possible link between breast cancer and bras. The husband-and-wife team spent time in Fiji, where they found that the population wearing Western clothing had a remarkably higher rate of breast cancer than those who wear bra-less native dress. (This rate may be explained by factors unrelated to underwear.)
Why present the bras to President Clinton? (Why not Richard Klausner, head of the National Cancer Institute?) “We feel that the president is the most powerful person to make this happen. We feel that humor is a powerful communicator, and we would like to shamelessly exploit the politics around the president’s relationships with women to rally the public around this cause,” says Nicolino.
Send your bras to: National Bra Tapestry, 4298 Vineland Ave., Studio City, CA 91602.; (818) 980-9733.