Publication Studio | Talk: Women's autobiographical artists' books

Publication Studio is run by Patricia No, a writer, and Antonia Pinter, an artist. Their work in publications has spanned artist books, poetics, critical essays, art writing, experimental literature, and books that intersect these genres both in print and in digital mediums. Working closely in both literature and art—with both writers and visual and performance artists—as well as with curators and editors, we are interested in how books extend individual narratives—critical, autobiographical, fictional, marginal—through a form that can engage the public. 

Looking at several examples of books that blur the boundary between artist book, prose or poetic work, autobiography, and other genres, we will discuss how these intersections are used to expand a female narrative in the form of artists’ books both historically and within contemporary culture. Why female? We're women. ("...absence of women from art history, added to emotional needs for gender affirmation, is one of the reasons feminist artists have taken the conventional history of art with a massive grain of salt" —Lucy R. Lippard)

Our residency at Flying Object is to undertake a project initiated by Antonia Pinter to create a digital and print archive, a published bibliography, an exhibition, and a publication on women's autobiographical artists' books. This talk will include examples of some of these reference books as a starting point of conversation, as well as discussing the foundational questions and concepts considered in the project. Open discussion is encouraged!

A note on the project: This project is directly inspired by the exhibition catalog Women’s Autobiographical Artists’ Books, curated and edited by Pamela Zwehl-­Burke and Leslie Fedorchuk (1987) and found by happenstance at Woodland Pattern in Milwaukee, WI. Taking primary reference from the exhibition catalog, the methods of "artist autobiography" are diverse in approach, and the common thread of direct intervention by each author is evidenced within the book. Zwehl­-Burke and Fedorchuk write, “Rather than reach definitive conclusions, Women’s Autobiographical Artists’ Books stand as a testament to the basic tenet of feminism—that the lives and issues of women are worthy and vital subjects for art-making.”