Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Journey Begins

Through a number of books that recently reached the top of my reading list, I think I might be onto something big.  Something big concerning my understanding of violence against women, violence and destruction in art, violence as a cultural phenomenon, women in art, feminism in art and culture, and...just so many things.  It covers the entire twentieth century, actually.

I'm not going to reveal just yet how I came to find out about the Black Dahlia Murder, because it's such a deliciously great anecdote that deserves its own story.  Most people I talk to already know all about it, being all Goth and loving the dark stuff like serial killers as I do.  I had no idea, I'm shocked to reveal, and was fascinated.  

I've started with Exquisite Corpse--Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder by Mark Nelson and Sarah Bayliss.  It goes way past the 1930s and '40s, though, back to the nineteenth century's fascination with automata, to Cindy Sherman's use of anatomically correct dolls, performance art in so many forms, and so much between and beyond.  But related, I realized, is another acquisition from my reading list: Transforming a Rape Culture edited by Emilie Buchwald, et al.

I'm excited because I feel that I might really be onto something here, connecting so many disparate elements of my understanding of twentieth-century art and politics and culture all in one go.  Of course, I'll be reporting on it here.

Ryan Witte

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