Womans Art Journal

FALL 2007 / WINTER 2008 VOLUME 28, NUMBER 2

On the Cover

Lee Krasner, Listen

Lee Krasner, Listen (1957). oil on cotton duck, 63 1/4" x 58 1/2".



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GUIDELINES

PREVIOUS ISSUE

PARALLEL PERSPECTIVES

By Joan Marter and Margaret Barlow

 

PORTRAITS, ISSUES, AND INSIGHTS

LEE KRASNER’S SKEPTICISM AND HER EMERGENT POSTMODERNISM

By Robert Hobbs

LEE KRASNER AND WOMEN’S INNOVATIONS IN AMERICAN ABSTRACT PAINTING

By Ann Gibson

LEE KRASNER’S PASTORAL VISION: COLLAGE AND THE NATURE OF ORDER

By Daniel Haxall

BEYOND THE PALE: LEE KRASNER AND JEWISH CULTURE

By Gail Levin

NEGOTIATING ABSTRACTION: LEE KRASNER, MERCEDES CARLES MATTER, AND THE HOFMANN YEARS

By Joan Marter

REVIEWS

Eva Hesse: Catalogue Raisonné (2 vols.)

EDITED BY RENATE PETZINGER AND BARRY ROSEN, WITH ANNETTE SPOHN

Eva Hesse: Datebooks, 1964/65: A Facsimile Edition

INTRODUCTION BY SABINE FOLIE

Eva Hesse Drawing

EDITED BY CATHERINE DE ZEGHER

Eva Hesse: Sculpture

EDITED BY ELISABETH SUSSMAN AND FRED WASSERMAN

Encountering Eva Hesse

EDITED BY GRISELDA POLLOCK AND VANESSA CORBY

Reviewed by Karen Kurczynski

 

Martha Rosler, 3 works

BY MARTHA ROSLER

Reviewed by Don Gill

 

Uninterrupted Flux: Hedda Sterne

BY SARAH L. ECKHARDT

Reviewed by Vittorio Colaizzi

 

Women Together/ Women Apart: Portraits of Lesbian Paris

BY TIRZA TRUE LATIMER

Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore

EDITED BY. LOUISE DOWNIE

Reviewed by Christine Filippone

 

Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture

BY MARIA ELENA BUSZEK

Reviewed by Rachel Epp Buller

 

Gabriele Münter: The Search for Expression 1906 – 1917

BY ANNEGRET HOBERG, SHULAMITH BEHR AND BARNABY WRIGHT

Reviewed by Evelyn M. Kain

 

Hatshepsut from Queen to Pharaoh

BY CATHARINE H. ROEHRIG, WITH RENEE DREYFUS AND CATHLEEN A. KELLER

Reviewed by Christine Havice



Parallel Perspectives


One of the more striking images to appear on the cover of WAJ ––ten years ago (in vol. 18, no. 2)––was an untitled collage by Lee Krasner. It accompanied an essay on Krasner’s collages from the early 1950s by Ellen G. Landau. Now again, one hundred years after her birth, Krasner’s work graces our cover again. To celebrate her centennial, Gail Levin organized a two-day symposium entitled "The Art and Life of Lee Krasner: Recollections, Cultural Context and New Perspectives," on the Manhattan campus of StonyBrook University in April. The presenters looked into her biography and her role in the history and trajectory of American modernism to explore facets of both the context and content of her work. We are pleased to publish five of their essays here.


Robert Hobbs views Lee Krasner as a “postmodern” artist and examines discrete periods and emblematic works that “emphasize [a] contingent and continuously emergent self.” Krasner, saying that “the one constant in life is change,” moved “from series to series” throughout her career. Hobbs writes that she embraced radical departures in her artistic development that separated her from the first-generation male Abstract Expressionists. She broke “away from Abstract Expressionist claims of autonomy and transcendence as she embrace[d] the countering ideas of contingency and fragmentation," Hobbs adds.


Ann Gibson places Krasner in the context of three other female Abstract Expressionists - Elaine de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler - who, like her, were associated with successful male artists. "All produced work that arguably influenced the art of their male partners," claims Gibson. That each “developed impressive signature elements,” she writes, “has received attention only recently, as have observations that in some cases they preceded their partners and other male contemporaries in compositional forms that became hallmarks of the men’s work.”


Examining ways in which the pastoral tradition underlies the work of many New York School artists and writers, Daniel Haxall notes how “Krasner found repose within the sensations of nature.” At the same time, he explains, her "collages served as a substitute for emotional detachment, and like the pastoral, emerged from discontent.” Collage “provided a means to channel her ‘disappointment and desire’ into 'imaginative possession.'” As she drew her inspiration “from nature’s forms and sensations,” she imbued the works with a “natural rhythm,” concludes Haskell.


Gail Levin's essay serves as an introduction to her biography of the artist. Levin considers the importance of Krasner's Jewish heritage, giving details regarding her ambivalent relationship to that heritage, and concluding that "despite later estrangement from religious practice, she remained identified as a Jew." Krasner often claimed that she was ignored by establishment critics such as Greenberg and Rosenberg because, as Jewish men, they retained traditional attitudes about women’s inequality, Levin writes, noting that many of her early promoters, such as Barbara Rose and Cindy Nemser, were Jewish women.


WAJ editors usually don’t appear in the journal pages beyond this page. However, since Joan Marter was a symposium presenter, her essay is included. She explores Krasner's early abstractions and her association with Mercedes Carles Matter, a painter and close friend during the 1930s and 1940s. It was probably Matter who introduced Krasner to Hans Hofmann's instruction and encouraged her involvement with the American Abstract Artists group. In previously unpublished letters to Matter, Krasner sheds light on her life with Jackson Pollock and the impact of her father’s death. Marter also suggests that Krasner was a formidable, well-connected young modernist before she met Pollock.


Most of the reviews in this issue focus on the twentieth-century, including some artists working contemporaneously with Krasner. An artist sometimes connected to Abstract Expressionism is the subject of Uninterrupted Flux: Hedda Sterne, a catalogue by Sarah L. Eckhardt, reviewed by Vittorio Colaizzi. He notes that Sterne “was never swept up in any single ideology, but was able to observe modernism as a set of interchangeable options.”


The World War II resistance exploits of two iconoclastic women is the subject of Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore, one of two books reviewed by Christine Filippone. The other, about interwar Paris, is Women Together/Women Apart: Portraits of Lesbian Paris, by Tirza True Latimer, who, Filippone writes, “unveils the efforts” of Cahun and Moore, the painter Romaine Brooks, and performer Suzy Solidor “to shape their identities and inscribe themselves into history through portraiture.”


Karen Kurczynski reviews five recent books on Eva Hesse. “We are witnessing the apotheosis” of this artist, Kuczynski writes, pointing to the breadth of “insights into [Hesse’s] process and interpretation” they contain. Reviewed are three anthologies: Encountering Eva Hesse, edited by Griselda Pollock and Vanessa Corby; Eva Hesse Drawing, edited by Catherine de Zegher, and Eva Hesse: Sculpture, edited by Elisabeth Sussman and Fred Wasserman, as well as the two-volume Catalogue Raisonné, edited by Renate Petzinger and Barry Rosen, and a facsimile edition of Hesse’s Datebooks, 1964-65.


Evelyn Kain reviews Gabriele Münter: The Search for Expression 1906-1917, with essays by Annegret Hoberg and others that illuminate Münter’s art and legacy well beyond her celebrated connection with Kandinsky. Reviewing a new edition of Martha Rosler: 3 Works, originally published in 1981, Don Gill notes that great “improvements in print technology” and relevant critical views in this collection of documentary works make it worth re-visiting. In Maria Elena Buszek’s Pin-Up Grrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture, reviewer Rachel Epp Buller found “pin-up history unfold[ing] within and alongside of the history of the women’s movement.”


Almost 3500 years have passed since Hatshepsut of Egypt donned a kingly false beard and presented herself as the equal of male leaders. She “understood the limits of male-defined power structures and conventions,” and fashioned herself as a female king, writes Christine Havice in her review of Hatshepsut from Queen to Pharaoh, edited by Catharine H. Roehrig. The text and essays in this monumental catalogue that accompanied a Metropolitan Museum exhibit “reward even the nonspecialist with insights” and complement a vast array of visual material, writes Havice.
Finally, we thank Helen Harrison, Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, and staff member Ruby Jackson, and the staff of the Robert Miller Gallery for providing us with images of Lee Krasner’s work for this issue of the journal

 

Joan Marter and Margaret Barlow, co-editors



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Published semiannually—May and November—since 1980, Woman's Art Journal continues to represent the interests of women and art worldwide. Our articles and reviews cover all areas of women in the visual arts, from antiquity to the present day. Each issue presents current research on a variety of topics, featuring "portraits" of women artists, "issues and insights," and discerning reviews of recent books and exhibition catalogues. Each article is well researched and clearly written. Our authors are international scholars in their fields. A typical 60-page issue contains 20-25 color plates and 25-35 black-and-white illustrations.

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