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2000: History of Shit and 2007: WACK!

Our 38th post of the series celebrates Dominique Laporte’s History of Shit and Cornelia Butler and Lisa Gabrielle Mark’s WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution.

History of Shit

Here’s an excerpt from the book about purified language:

Purified, language becomes the crown jewels, the site of law, of the sacred text, of translation and exchange. There, the muddied voices and their dialects are expurgated of their dross, losing their pitiful “remnants of earth” and the vile fruits of their dirty commerce. Guttersnipes and merchants cannot sully the virginal emblem of power, for the King’s language does not wash them of their sins. But neither does it abandon them to their sinful state. Rather, it cleanses the fruit of their common labor, elevating it to the divine place of power freed from odor. Language and gold never traffic with traders and whores. As gold and as language, both forever deny their commerce with the base.


The following paragraph is from R.K. Dickson’s review of WACK!, which appeared in the November/December 2007 issue of The Bloomsbury Review.

WACK! is difficult at times but so rewarding that anyone interested in art, of whatever type, should engage in the debates of which it is a part. My students, women and men from ages 18 to 55, are continuing to discuss the exhibition and expand their understanding of its power. Too much of art history has excluded women, excluded voices that we all need to hear, and WACK! is a means to confront ourselves and our past and begin to appreciate what can be gained by opening up the conversation of art.”


Our 50 influential journal articles are listed here. The articles are in chronological order and will be freely available through the end of 2012.

For information about the MIT Press’ history, check out our 50th anniversary page.

  • Posted at 04:12 pm on Fri, 30 Nov 2012 in


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