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Amelia Jones

Amelia Jones is Grierson Chair in Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. Her books include Irrational Modernism: A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada (MIT Press), Self/Image: Technology, Representation and the Contemporary Subject, and Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts.

Titles by This Author

A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada

In Irrational Modernism, Amelia Jones gives us a history of New York Dada, reinterpreted in relation to the life and works of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Jones enlarges our conception of New York Dada beyond the male avant-garde heroics of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Francis Picabia to include the rebellious body of the Baroness. If they practiced Dada, she lived it, with her unorthodox personal life, wild assemblage objects, radical poetry and prose, and the flamboyant self-displays by which she became her own work of art. Through this reinterpretation, Jones not only provides a revisionist history of an art movement but also suggests a new method of art history.

Jones argues that the accepted idea of New York Dada as epitomized by Duchamp's readymades and their implicit cultural critique does not take into consideration the contradictions within the movement—its misogyny, for example—or the social turmoil of the period caused by industrialization, urbanization, and the upheaval of World War I and its aftermath, which coincided with the Baroness's time in New York (1913-1923). Baroness Elsa, whose appearances in Jones's narrative of New York Dada mirror her volcanic intrusions into the artistic circles of the time, can be seen to embody a new way to understand the history of avant-gardism—one that embraces the irrational and marginal rather than promoting the canonical.

Acknowledging her identification with the Baroness (as a "fellow neurasthenic"), and interrupting her own objective passages of art historical argument with what she describes in her introduction as "bursts of irrationality," Jones explores the interestedness of all art history, and proposes a new "immersive" understanding of history (reflecting the historian's own history) that parallels the irrational immersive trajectory of avant- gardism as practiced by Baroness Elsa.

Titles by This Editor

Edited by Amelia Jones

It has been argued, most notably in psychoanalytic and modernist art discourse, that the production of works of art is fundamentally driven by sexual desire. It has been further argued, particularly since the early 1970s, that sexual drives and desires also condition the distribution, display and reception of art.

This anthology traces how and why this identification of art with sexual expression or repression arose and how the terms have shifted in tandem with artistic and theoretical debates, from the era of the rights movements to the present. Among the subjects it discusses are abjection and the “informe,” or formless; pornography and the obscene; the performativity of gender and sexuality; and the role of sexuality in forging radical art or curatorial practices in response to such issues as state-sponsored repression and anti-feminism in the broader social realm.

Artists surveyed include
Vito Acconci, Assume Vivid Astro Focus, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Gerard Byrne, George Chakravarthi, Judy Chicago, Vaginal Davis, Wim Delvoye, Elmgreen & Dragset, Valie Export, Félix González-Torres, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Harmony Hammond, Claudette Johnson, Mary Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Legorreta, Paul McCarthy, Sarah Maple, Shirin Neshat, Lorraine O’Grady, Yoko Ono, Catherine Opie, Orlan, William Pope.L, Miriam Schapiro, Carolee Schneemann, Joan Semmel, Barbara Smith, Annie Sprinkle, Alina Szapocznikow, Del LaGrace Volcano, Hannah Wilke, David Wojnarowicz

Writers include
Malek Alloula, Norman O. Brown, Judith Butler, Douglas Crimp, Angela Dimitrakaki, Michel Foucault, Daniel Guérin, Eleanor Heartney, Jonathan D. Katz, Rosalind Krauss, Julia Kristeva, Paweł Leszkowicz, Herbert Marcuse, Kobena Mercer, Laura Mulvey, Lawrence Rinder, Jacqueline Rose, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Susan Sontag, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Stephen Whittle