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Description: Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender
PublisherYale University Press
Related print edition pages: pp.vii-x
This book is the result of innumerable conversations through which the ideas were developed. Many smart questions and generous listeners helped me to think through the arguments and to understand their stakes, and my best memories of this work are primarily about those formative discussions. With this project, I shifted my attention drastically, from nineteenth-century statues to postwar abstraction, and I could not have done this without the encouragement I received and the sense of purpose that my interlocutors helped me to realize.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the artists and their families, estates, and representatives, all of whom facilitated my work on this project. I owe much to the encouragement and generosity of Susan Cooke of the Estate of David Smith, Maureen Granville-Smith, Alexandra Fairweather, Prudence Fairweather, Angelo Piccozi, halley k harrisburg, Michael Rosenfeld, and Cassils. Nancy Grossman has been nothing less than an inspiration, and it was one of the great pleasures of the research for this book to be able to get to know her and her remarkable work. Overall, I conclude this project with a great respect for the work of each of the artists, and I hope this book stands as both a testament to their practices as well as a proposition for how they can be viewed anew.
This book’s form was first conceptualized during my time as an Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. I learned much from the intellectual community of the Center and my cohort during that year. In particular, Elizabeth Cropper, Peter Lukehart, Therese O’Malley, Suzanne Preston Blier, Evonne Levy, Ruth Iskin, and Michael Schreffler asked important questions that helped me to formulate the ambitions of the project. A fellowship from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute further supported the research, and it was in Williamstown that discussions with Rachel Haidu, Michael Ann Holly, Richard Brettell, Keith Moxey, and David Breslin were formative. I would especially like to thank Nanette Salomon for her smart questions and enthusiasm during my time at the Clark. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago provided sabbatical leave and a Faculty Research Grant, and I am grateful to Dean Lisa Wainwright for her encouragement of this work.
Much time was spent in archives and collections for this project, and I benefited greatly from the assistance provided by Marisa Bourgoin of the Archives of American Art, Melissa Watterworth of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut, the staff of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Archives, the staff of the Getty Research Institute, the staff of the Henry Moore Institute, Charles Silver of the Department of Film at MoMA, Danielle King of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, Alexandra Whitney and Lauren Knighton of David Zwirner Gallery, Eugenia Bell, Rob Weiner of the Chinati Foundation, Mary Richardson of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Ian Berry and Megan Hyde of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College. Interviews with Mac McGinnes and Michael Harwood were exceedingly helpful and enjoyable.
The chapters have benefited from close readings and public presentations. In particular, I am very grateful to Jason Edwards, Julian B. Carter, Jenni Sorkin, Michael Brenson, Amy Sillman, Sarah Betzer, Jennifer Doyle, and David Raskin for their comments on drafts of parts of this book. The first and fourth chapters were workshopped in extremely helpful seminars at the University of Chicago – first at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and second at the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts (during which time I had a useful formal response from Lisa Lee). Chapter 2 was first presented at the Chinati Foundation, and it was the initial invitation to speak on John Chamberlain by Marianne Stockebrand that prompted me to work on this material. An earlier version was published in the proceedings of the Chinati’s symposium on Chamberlain in 2009. A turning point for me in realizing that there was a larger project to be undertaken occurred through discussions with Gregg Bordowitz about the initial Chamberlain essay. This culminated in a conversation recorded as a podcast for Bad at Sports in May 2007. That podcast has proven to be useful to many since it aired, and it was also instrumental in my early thinking about this research and its stakes. Part of Chapter 3 was published in the catalogue to the retrospective exhibition prepared by Ian Berry at the Tang Museum. I am grateful for the ability to update these writings and to republish my keyword essay for TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly in the introduction to this volume and, in the conclusion, a short piece written to accompany Orlando Tirado’s exhibition FLEX at Kent Fine Art, New York, in 2014. With regard to public presentations, I received many useful comments and questions when parts of this book were presented as lectures at Washington & Lee University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Human Resources Los Angeles, the Chinati Foundation, the Universities Art Association of Canada Conference, the College Art Association Conference, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of York, the University of Virginia, George Washington University, and the “Transsomatechnics” Conference in 2008 at Simon Fraser University.
Many institutions and individuals assisted with the acquisitions of images and copyright. I thank Stephen Flavin, the David Smith Estate, Fairweather & Fairweather Ltd, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery (with special thanks to Marjorie Van Cura), David Zwirner Gallery (and, in particular, Lauren Knighton), the Tang Museum and Teaching Gallery, the Richard Avedon Foundation, the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum, Meredith Potts of the Dan Budnik Studio, Gregory Most and Meg Melvin of the Department of Image Collections at the National Gallery of Art, Selena Bartlett of the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Stacey Sherman of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Heather Monahan of the Pace Gallery, the Des Moines Art Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Margulies Collection, the Chinati Foundation, the Dan Flavin Art Institute, the Dia Foundation, Ronald Feldman Gallery, Allen Stone Gallery, Paul Cooper Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Karsten Greve, and Robyn Farrell and Aimee Marshall of the Art Institute of Chicago. Both Artists Rights Society and VAGA have been helpful.
I would also like to thank the staff of Yale University Press, and especially Gillian Malpass, whose enthusiasm for and commitment to this project have been constant sources of encouragement. This book also owes a great deal to Katharine Ridler’s careful eye and good suggestions, as well as to Charlotte Grievson for the beautiful design.
My colleague Terry Myers and I co-taught a graduate seminar on Frank O’Hara that allowed for many productive discussions of his poetry and criticism. Also, my research assistants at the SAIC were crucial to this project, and I am grateful for the hard work and keen eyes of Beth Capper, Bryce Dwyer, and Rebecca Henderson. Many students in other graduate seminars at SAIC have heard early versions of these ideas. While I cannot mention each conversation, questions from the following continue to come to mind: Danny Orendorff, Rachel Wolff, Kate Pollasch-Thames, Gordon Hall, Zach Blas, Marc Adelman, Antje Gamble, Aiden Simon, Jules Rosskam, and again, Beth Capper.
Many interlocutors have assisted me with thinking through this project, and it could not have been realized without their help. In addition to those thanked above, I am grateful for conversations about these ideas with Jennifer Doyle, Gregg Bordowitz, Whitney Davis, Frédéric Moffet, Barbara DeGenevieve, Lisa Wainwright, James Elkins, James Rondeau, Kate Nesin, Mary Jane Jacob, Susan Stryker, Michael Golec, Jonathan D. Katz, Tirza Latimer, James Meyer, Alex Potts, Harry Cooper, Jo Applin, Gavin Butt, Dieter Schwarz, Hollis Clayson, Anne Collins Goodyear, Christopher Bedford, Elise Archias, Elliot King, Amy Sillman, Ernesto Pujol, and Doug Ischar.
And finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for listening to endless variations on this book. Without them, nothing would be possible. My parents, David and Donna Getsy, are a constant source of strength. Many friends have encouraged and assisted me throughout, and I am especially thankful for Matthew Harvat, Warren Davis, Paul Moffat, Sean Fader, Adam Colangelo, Hugo Eyre-Varnier, Corin Baird, Rob Bondgren, Andrew Kain Miller, Tom Glassic, Dennis Mendoza, Murtaza Nemat Ali, Ron Wittman, Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz, Kate Zeller, Emi Winter, Pierre Scott, and Dwight McBride. Throughout this exploration of abstraction, Jude Hansen has kept me grounded, and this book owes much to his love and support.
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