Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art (Hardcover)

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A transformative feminist intervention in the way we think about women’s stories and bodies.

Coming across the term “art monster” in Jenny Offill’s 2014 novel Dept. of Speculation, Lauren Elkin was intrigued. What kinds of connections might there be between art and monstrosity, and how was it different when the artist in question was a woman?

Art Monsters is a landmark feminist intervention in the way we think about women’s stories and bodies, calling attention to a radical genealogy of feminist art that not only reacts against patriarchy but redefines its own aesthetic aims. Exploring a rich lineage of visual artists, thinkers, and writers, Elkin examines the ways feminists have confronted the problem of how to tell the truth of their experiences as bodies. Queer bodies, sick bodies, raced bodies, female bodies: What are the languages of the body, and what are the materials we need to transcribe them? Above all, how can we use the notion of the feminist “art monster” to shape how we live our lives?

Writing in the tradition of Susan Sontag and Maggie Nelson, Elkin demonstrates her power as a cultural critic in this erudite and engaging book. From Kara Walker’s silhouettes to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s trilingual masterpiece Dictee, Art Monsters daringly weaves links between disparate artists and writers, and shows that their work offers a potent defense of beauty and excess, sentiment and touch, ambiguity and opacity.

About the Author

Lauren Elkin's essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, frieze, and The Times Literary Supplement, and she is a contributing editor at The White Review. A native New Yorker, she moved to Paris in 2004. Currently living on the Right Bank after years on the Left, she can generally be found ambling around Belleville.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374105952
ISBN-10: 0374105952
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Pages: 368
Language: English