Mignon Nixon

Mignon Nixon is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at University College London and an editor of October magazine. She is the author of Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art and the editor of a previous October Files volume, Eva Hesse (both published by the MIT Press).

  • Mary Kelly

    Mary Kelly

    Mignon Nixon

    Essays and interviews that span Mary Kelly's career highlight the artist's sustained engagement with feminism and feminist history.

    When Mary Kelly's best-known work, Post-Partum Document (1973–1979), was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in 1976, it caused a sensation—an unexpected response to an intellectually demanding and aesthetically restrained installation of conceptual art. The reception signaled resistance to the work's interrogation of feminine identity and the cultural mythologizing of motherhood. This volume of essays and interviews begins with this foundational work, offering an early statement by the artist, a subsequent interview, and an essay situating the work within a broader broader discourse of art and social purpose in the early 1970s. Throughout, the collection addresses such themes as labor, war, trauma, and the politics of care, while emphasizing the artist's sustained engagement with histories of feminism and generations of feminists.

    The contributions also consider such specific works as Kelly's Interim (1984–1989), the subject of a special issue of October; Gloria Patri (1992), an installation conceived in response to the first Gulf War; The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi (2001), an extensive project including a 200-foot narrative executed in the medium of compressed lint and the performance of a musical score by Michael Nyman; and two recent works, Love Songs (2005-2007), which explores the role of memory in feminist politics, and Mimus (2012), a triptych that parodies the House Un-American Activities Committee's 1962 investigation of the pacifist group, Women Strike for Peace.

    Essays and Interviews by Parveen Adams, Emily Apter, Rosalyn Deutsche, Hal Foster, Margaret Iversen, Mary Kelly, Helen Molesworth, Laura Mulvey, Mignon Nixon, Griselda Pollock, Paul Smith

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00
    • Paperback $24.95 £20.00
  • Fantastic Reality

    Fantastic Reality

    Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art

    Mignon Nixon

    A critical study of Louise Bourgeois's art from the 1940s to the 1980s: its departure from surrealism and its dialogue with psychoanalysis.

    The art of Louise Bourgeois stages a dynamic encounter between modern art and psychoanalysis, argues Mignon Nixon in the first full-scale critical study of the artist's work. A pivotal figure in twentieth-century art, Louise Bourgeois (b. 1911, France) emigrated to New York in 1938 and is still actively working and exhibiting today. From Bourgeois's formative struggle with the "father figures" of surrealism, including Andre Breton and Marcel Duchamp, to her galvanizing role in the feminist art movement of the 1970s, to her subsequent emergence as a leading voice in postmodernism, this book explores the artist's responses to war, dislocation, and motherhood, to the predicament of the "woman artist" and the politics of sexual and social liberation, as a dialogue with psychoanalysis.

    Convinced that she could express "deeper things in three dimensions," Bourgeois abandoned painting for sculpture in the 1940s, founding her art in one of the twentieth century's most radical and controversial accounts of subjectivity, the object relations psychoanalysis of Melanie Klein. Rejecting the Oedipal narratives of Freud and the dream imagery of surrealism for the object world of the infantile drives, Bourgeois turned to the child analysis pioneered by Klein, the figure Julia Kristeva has called "the boldest reformer in the history of modern psychoanalysis." With Klein, Bourgeois thinks the negative—fragmentation, splitting, and formlessness—where we might least expect to find it, in the corporeal fantasies of mother and child. This turn to the mother and the death drive at once in child psychoanalysis, Nixon contends, not only finds powerful expression in Bourgeois's art, but is echoed in the work of other artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama, and Eva Hesse, and in a return to Klein in recent art.

    "Fantastic reality," Bourgeois calls the condition of her art. Starting from Bourgeois's investigation, through a multiplicity of forms and materials, of the problem of subjectivity on the very threshold of emergence, this book argues for a new psychoanalytic story of modern art.

    • Hardcover $43.00 £35.00
    • Paperback $39.95 £32.00
  • Eva Hesse

    Eva Hesse

    Mignon Nixon

    A critical primer on the work of artist Eva Hesse.

    Eva Hesse's distinctive process-based art exerted a powerful influence on minimalist artists of the 1960s and continues to inspire artists today. Using industrial materials such as latex and fiberglass, she exploited their flexibility to produce works with an unsettling psychic and corporeal resonance. Hesse, who was born in Germany in 1936 and raised in New York City, died of cancer in New York in 1970. Eva Hesse focuses on the body of criticism that has developed since the last major retrospective of Hesse's work, at the Yale University Art Gallery in 1992. The book's publication coincides with a major exhibition organized jointly by the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Wiesbaden Museum. Eva Hesse contains a 1970 interview by Cindy Nemser, a discussion between Mel Bochner and Joan Simon, and essays by Briony Fer, Rosalind Krauss, Mignon Nixon, and Anne M. Wagner.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00
  • The Duchamp Effect

    The Duchamp Effect

    Martha Buskirk and Mignon Nixon

    This expanded edition of the fall 1994 special issue of October includes new essays by Sarat Maharaj and by Molly Nesbit and Naomi Sawelson-Gorse. It also includes the transcript of an exchange between T. J. Clark and Benjamin Buchloh which presents new responses to the problems raised by this immediately popular (and now out of print) issue of the journal. The Duchamp Effect is an investigation of the historical reception of the work of Marcel Duchamp from the 1950s to the present, including interviews by Benjamin Buchloh (with Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and Robert Morris), Elizabeth Armstrong (with Ed Ruscha and Bruce Conner), and Martha Buskirk (with Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, and Fred Wilson) and a round-table discussion of the Duchamp effect on conceptual art.

    Contents Introduction, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh • What's Neo about the Neo-Avant-Garde?, Hal Foster • Typotranslating the Green Box, Sarat Maharaj • Three Conversations in 1985: Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, Robert Morris, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh • Interviews with Ed Ruscha and Bruce Conner, Elizabeth Armstrong • Echoes of the Readymade: Critique of Pure Modernism, Thierryde Duve • Concept of Nothing: New Notes by Marcel Duchamp and Walter Arensberg, Molly Nesbit and Naomi Sawelson-Gorse • Interviews with Sherrie Levine, Louis Lawler, and Fred Wilson, Martha Buskirk • Thoroughly Modern Marcel, Martha Buskirk • Conceptual Art and the Reception of Duchamp, October Round Table • All the Things I Said about Duchamp: A Response to Benjamin Buchloh, T. J. Clark • Response to T. J. Clark, Benjamin Buchloh

    • Paperback $9.75 £7.99

Contributor

  • Women Artists at the Millennium

    Women Artists at the Millennium

    Carol Armstrong and Catherine de Zegher

    Artists, art historians, and critics look at the legacies of feminism and critical theory in the work of women artists, more than thirty years after the beginning of the modern women's movement and Linda Nochlin's landmark essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?"

    More than thirty years after the birth of the modern women's movement and the beginnings of feminist art-making and art history, the time is ripe to examine the legacies of those revolutions. In Women Artists at the Millennium, artists, art historians, and critics examine the differences that feminist art practice and critical theory have made in late twentieth-century art and the discourses surrounding it. In 1971, when Linda Nochlin published her essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" in a special issue of Art News, there were no women's studies, no feminist theory, no such thing as feminist art criticism; there was instead a focus on the mythic figure of the great (male) artist through history. Since then, the "woman artist" has not simply been assimilated into the canon of "greatness" but has expanded art-making into a multiplicity of practices with new parameters and perspectives. In Women Artists at the Millennium artists including Martha Rosler and Yvonne Rainer reflect upon their own varied practices and art historians discuss the innovative work of such figures as Louise Bourgeois, Lygia Clark, Mona Hatoum, and Carrie Mae Weems. And Linda Nochlin considers changes since her landmark essay and looks to the future, writing, "We will need all our wit and courage to make sure that women's voices are heard, their work seen and written about."

    Artist Pages By: Ellen Gallagher, Ann Hamilton, Mary Kelly, Yvonne Rainer, Martha Rosler

    Contributing Writers: Emily Apter, Carol Armstrong, Catherine de Zegher, Maria DiBattista, Brigid Doherty, Briony Fer, Tamar Garb, Anne Higonnet, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Molly Nesbit, Mignon Nixon, Linda Nochlin, Griselda Pollock, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Lisa Tickner, Anne Wagner

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
    • Paperback $29.95 £25.00