Unspeakable Acts: Women, Art, and Sexual Violence in the 1970s
Where: 192 Books
192 Tenth Ave.
212-255-4022 Price: Free
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Please join 192 Books and Thames & Hudson for a conversation between Martha Wilson and Nancy Princenthal on her new book Unspeakable Acts: Women, Art, and Sexual Violence in the 1970s.
“If we are going to talk about sexual violence, we will have to come to terms with what it is. That is harder than it seems,” art writer and author Nancy Princenthal writes on the opening page of her new book, Unspeakable Acts: Women, Art, and Sexual Violence in the 1970s. “Tricky to define, sexual offenses are even more difficult to depict. … The pioneering women artists who explored sexual violence in the seventies had a wide-open arena, and plenty to say.”
The 1970s were a time of deep divisions and newfound freedoms. A new generation put their bodies on the line to protest injustice, galvanized by The Second Sex and The Feminine Mystique, the civil rights movement, and the March on Washington. Fired up by women’s experiences and the climate of revolution, bold women artists and activists, including Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, Marina Abramović, Adrian Piper, Suzanne Lacy, Nancy Spero, and Jenny Holzer, started a conversation about sexual violence that continues to this day.
Some of them worked unannounced and unheralded, using the street as their theater. Others managed to draw support from the highest levels of municipal power. Along the way, they changed the course of art, pioneering a form that came to be called, simply, performance.
In Unspeakable Acts, Princenthal takes on these enduring issues and weaves together a new history of art and performance, challenging readers to reexamine the relationship between activism and art, and how the lessons of that turbulent era can be applied today.
Nancy Princenthal is a New York-based writer whose book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art received the 2016 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. A Contributing Editor (and former Senior Editor) of Art in America, she has also written for The New York Times and elsewhere. Princenthal has taught at Bard College, Princeton University, and Yale University, and is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.
Questions about identity have underscored the forty-year-long career of Martha Wilson, a feminist performance artist who emerged as part of the nascent downtown New York scene in the 1970s. She founded and continues to direct Franklin Furnace, a non-profit institution based in New York that preserves avant-garde, ephemeral, and political work.he caption position and set other styles.
Agnes Martin, one of the leading abstract painters of the 20th century, is known for spare, contemplative paintings that typically consist of straight lines inscribed on a canvas. Nancy Princenthal, a veteran art critic, has appropriated Martin’s measured style as her own in her fascinating biography of the artist. Among the book’s many virtues is its refusal to sensationalize mental illness. For much of her adult life, Martin heard interior voices and suffered from schizophrenia. Rather than exploiting the facile cliché that views madness as a source of artistic inspiration, Princenthal explains how Martin’s illness threatened to derail her art, and had to be overcome. All in all, a careful and caring biography that serves as a model of nuanced reflection in these screaming, insult-hurling times.”Buy tickets/get more info now