Niza Yanay / Omer Fast

Chosen by Elizabeth Harney (A '14)

Thanks for asking me to choose a reading for the group this week. I brought up Niza Yanay’s book, “The Ideology of Hatred” during last week’s discussion of “The Second Sex.” I think we were talking about the slave/master dialectic and about the difference between submission and victimization. We also discussed some ways in which perceived power and privilege/mobility can influence our relationships and desires. 

Yanay, Niza. "The Lure of Proximity and the Fear of Dependency." The Ideology of Hatred: The Psychic Power of Discourse. New York: Fordham UP, 2013. 71-88. Print.
Interview with Niza Yanay by Al Jazeera

Omer Fast, The Casting (2007)

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Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir

Chosen by Baseera Khan (A '14)

I was really having a hard time choosing what to read from Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir. Choosing Simone was a direct reaction to the discussion that we had at our first meeting of the semester last Friday, September 30th. 

We circled around these questions:
What is queer, and what does queering look like? 
Why do the defining terms so quickly grab at gender binaries? 
What of intersex, or plurality, or transgressive and dissent activities that place our bodies at risk politically for other reasons? 

I'd like to carry this thread into this Friday.


It is most appropriate to revisit Simone's written Introduction and her section on Justifications: Chapter 11's The Narcissist


I also think we should go and see at least one of the shows listed below.

Because Skowhegan has so generously dedicated space for Ellen Cantor's work it could be fruitful to view some of her stuff. A film "Are you Ready for Love", and photography is showing at the 80WE NYU Gallery, or view a painting and pornography legal-view-rights exhibition of Ellen Cantor's at Participant Inc, Lovely Girls Emotions, or view her "Be My Baby" film and documentation show at Foxy Production (which I haven't seen yet). 

If it is possible for you to also view the Maccarone exhibition "25 Years of Sexually x-Plicit Art by Women." this will be very beneficial too.

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Selections from 'Queer': Wu Tsang / David J. Getsy / Renate Lorenz

Selected by Erik Patton ('15) and Haley Bueschlen ('15)




How does Wu Tsang set the stage, what is the “before” of a performance, and how is it shared? In order to fall apart as human beings, we need first to be able to live, can serve as a qualifier for an anti-assimilation politic, and a means of positioning our in(queery). We are interested in exploring different performed notions of self, and specifically a theoretical artist in drag rather than drag artist and drag queen. We ask, how is drag a departure, arrival, and gesture that peels back a layer and exposes oneself in a particular way? And what is the nuance behind getting paid as Wu Tsang’s describes? What are the different potentialities  or complicities of liveness and documentation becoming “... ‘entertainment’  jesters for elite patronage of museums?” How can we open a complex dialogue about spectatorship, institution, performer, and race, within the art context of drag?

Renate Lorenz’s Drag - Radical, Transtemporal, Abstract: how can we discuss the making of infinitude in drag-- the process of making fluid assemblages and connectivities which interrupt or are beyond heteronormativity. And what happens when drag is captured in the stasis of an image?  We ask all these questions when diving into something incredibly robust, strange, and defiant as a queer politic.


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Anna C. Chave / Linda Nochlin

Selected by Becky Kinder (A '04)

"I would like to talk about the role that women's biography and the specifics of identity play in art making. Not only in who gets to make, but how it affects what is made, how it is seen and how it is read."


  • "Normal Ills: On Embodiment, Victimization, and the Origins of Feminist Art" by Anna C. Chave, 2006
  • "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" by Linda Nochlin from 1971


"Two case studies, of sorts, that I have been interested in lately are the Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, from 2015, and the Nina Simone documentary, What Happened Miss Simone?, also from 2015. This is way optional, but both are haunting and fascinating in regards to these issues."

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Judith Butler on Susan Sontag

Selected by Naomi Safran-Hon (A '12)

"There are two main questions that interest me in this text and to quote Butler herself:

... whether photographs still has the power to communicate the suffering of other in such a way that viewers might be prompted to alter their political assessment of war? (page 68)


How do the norms that govern which lives will be regarded as human enter into the frames through which discourse and visual representation proceed? (page 77)

As image maker I am interested both in the making of an image and in its framing. 

Butler uses the images of torture from Abu Ghraib, to explore these ideas. If you are not familiar with these images and the media story associated with them please look them up."


  • Butler, Judith. "Torture and the Ethics of Photography: Thinking with Sontag."Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? London: Verso, 2009. 63-100. [Since it is all most 40 pages, if you want to skip some I would suggest focusing on pages: 63-74 and 91-100.]
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Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

Selected by Ander Mikalson (A '12)

"Before our meeting, please reflect on your family’s financial history.  Has your family enjoyed opportunities for asset building, or been locked out of such opportunities by racist policies and laws?  Has family wealth been passed across the generations?  Do you have plunder in your bank account, or have you been robbed?  If you feel comfortable sharing these reflections with the group, I thought it could be interesting & enlightening to relate our personal financial situations to the wider picture painted by Coates.

Also, if you have time and feel interested, you could investigate the history of housing policy in the place(s) you and your family are from, and share that information with us on Friday.  (Naomi and Cyriaco, I’m very curious about policies in Israel and Brazil.)

You all are truly a bright spot in every fortnight!  Looking forward to our discussion."


  • Coates, Ta-Nehisi. "The Case for Reparations." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, June 2014.

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Allan Sekula / Subject to Capital

Selected by Paige Laino

"Toward the end of last week’s meeting, we talked about Helene Cixious' collaboration with Roni Horn to translate a Clarice Lispector text to use in one of Horn’s installations. From there we discussed text art, and because we had been talking about Baseera’s group show at Abrons, I think I steered the discussion toward Allan Sekula.

For this meeting, I would like us to read the first section of Allan Sekula’s "The Body and The Archive", which, to me, is a really concise history of photography as not an artistic medium, but a socially repressive tool that served/serves to construct a public consciousness of “criminality.” I felt that this text could add depth to our discussions about Cameron Rowland and bell hooks. For the meeting, please come prepared with a part that resonated with you, or didn’t, for discussion. "


  • Sekula, Allan. "The Body and the Archive." October 39 (1986): part I, pages 3-16.


  • Subject to Capital, Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand Street, New York, NY, March 3 – April 17
  • Sekula, Allan. "Reading An Archive: Photography Between Labour and Capitalism." The Photography Reader. London: Routledge, 2003. Originally written 1983. First five pages only (443-447)
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Clarice Lispector / Helene Cixous

Selected by Cyriaco Lopes (A '02)

"As I was reading Clarice on the subway to our last meeting, Cixous seemed a natural choice for our next reading. If you have time, also try the short Clarice text, a bonus (one of my favorite works of art of all times). 

The Main Frame:
Is it possible to create artworks from the perspective of feminism (beyond it being enunciated directly)?

Écriture Feminine (wikepedia is good enough for us here. The text that we are reading is an enactment of that theory).

Possible framework for the reading:
1. The comparison between Rilke and Clarice (‘roses’) seem to point to a parallel between phallocentric writing and feminist writing. What are their differences according to the text?
2. What are the characteristics of Écriture Feminine as exemplified by Lispector work?
3. The author uses Clarice Lispector as a study case and as a model. Could we use the same ideas that she applies to Lispector to think the visual arts? Which artists would be appropriate for that reading?"


  • Cixous, Helene. "Clarice Lispector: The Approach - Letting Oneself (be) Read (by) Clarice Lispector - The Passion According to C.L."  Coming to Writing and Other Essays, translated by Deborah Jenson, 59-77. Harvard University Press, 1992.

Other Materials

  • ‘The Egg and the Chicken’ by Clarice Lispector
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bell hooks / Ana Mendieta

Selected by Baseera Khan (A '14)

"The following work is selected based on some aspects of our last conversation:
From Student/Teacher 'refugee' to Artist/Maker in 'exile'. 
How can we reassign power dynamics?
How can we use the institution, stealing here and there, to continue our work?
Is our work valuable, or valueless?"


  • Feminist theory from margin to center by bell hooks
  • Coco Fusco on the Enduring Legacy of Groundbreaking Cuban Artist Ana Mendieta by Jared Quinton
  • Tracing Ana by Haley Mlotek

Other Materials:

  • Ana Mendieta, Experimental and Interactive Films, Galerie Lelong, February 5 – March 26
  • A World with Requilin Mendieta by Randy Kennedy
  • Where is Ana Mendieta by Jane Blocker
  • Critical Perspectives on Bell Hooks
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