Erotic Faculties

Erotic Faculties

by Joanna Frueh
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The erotic and the intellectual come together to create a new kind of criticism in the lushly written work of Joanna Frueh. Addressing sexuality in ways that are usually hidden or left unsaid, Frueh—a noted performance artist and art historian—explores subjects such as aging, beauty, love, sex, pleasure, contemporary art, and the body as a site and vehicle

Overview

The erotic and the intellectual come together to create a new kind of criticism in the lushly written work of Joanna Frueh. Addressing sexuality in ways that are usually hidden or left unsaid, Frueh—a noted performance artist and art historian—explores subjects such as aging, beauty, love, sex, pleasure, contemporary art, and the body as a site and vehicle of knowledge. Frueh's language is explicit, graphic, fragmented. She assumes multiple voices: those of lover, prophet, daughter, mythmaker, art critic, activist, and bleeding heart. What results is an utterly original narrative that frees us from the false objectivity of traditional critical discourse and affirms the erotic as a way to ease human suffering. Through personal reflection, parody, autobiography, and poetry, Frueh shows us what it means to perform criticism, to personalize critical thinking. Rejecting postmodern, deconstructed prose, she recuperates the sentimental, proudly asserts a romantic viewpoint, and disrupts academic and feminist conventions. Erotic Faculties seeks to free the power of our unutilized erotic faculties and to expand the possibilities of criticism; it is a wild ride and a consummate pleasure. FROM THE BOOK: "In society's eyes the old(er) woman who costumes herself in feminine beauty has usurped it from the young. But if there is a costume, anyone can wear it, anyone can be feminine, including the erotically disenfranchised postmenopausal woman. . . . Her defiance both shatters and expands the aesthetic of femininity and opens the way to new meanings of woman." "My teacher sat in front of the class smoking a cigarette and lecturing on nineteenth-century painting. Herminiskirtuncovered black fishnet stockings on crossed legs, her deep laugh spread her lipsticked mouth into a sybaritic smile, and her black hair waved witchily along paler than cream cheeks. Her dark voice slipped into my mouth and down my throat, rested on my pelvic floor and in my heart, and flashed to my extremities. With her ideas inside me, I could learn to speak perhaps as clearly as her body spoke to me."

Author Biography: Joanna Frueh is an art historian and performance artist who teaches at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective (1989) and coeditor of Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology (1991) and New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action (1994).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What starts as a well-conceived, even brave proposition-to unite academic writing and Eros-results in a collection of short essays that are of limited interest for being so problematically self-absorbed. Blending art history, autobiography, stream of consciousness, facts about female bodybuilding, poetry, drama, gender studies and other forms of postmodern discourse, this book rebels against traditional "unsloppy" scholarship, of the sort Frueh has already demonstrated in an admirable catalogue of the work of contemporary artist Hannah Wilke. Given the sensual undercurrents that always inform the art experience, and the fact that historically, this experience has frequently been conveyed through representations of women's bodies, Frueh's concept comes across as a worthy feminist project. Unfortunately the writing, passionate though it is, doesn't deliver. Essays documenting the author's lecture-performances make a point (and this quickly grows wearisome) of her "sexy" attire, makeup and buff physique. Diaristic descriptions of sexual encounters, photographs of the author in states of erotic abandon, her blunt admissions of desire and frequent lapses into a metaphorical "she" ("`I am a Wordswoman,' she said, `Swordswoman and I use wordplay as a weapon from the head and lips'") all work hard to shock. But, as historian Frueh herself should know, the radical edge of explicit rawness has already been effectively tempered by such pioneer feminist performance artists of the 1970s as Lynda Benglis and Carolee Schneeman. Perhaps Frueh's own work is best experienced as performance. But judging from the scripts, this reader doubts it. (June)
Library Journal
Frueh (art history, Univ. of Nevada, Reno) writes and performs without constraint in the guise of an erotic scholar, defying traditional academic rhetoric and scholarship. Emphasizing art, sex, and pleasure and their impact on women's lives, Frueh addresses how beauty, aging, women's bodies, and sexual practices and experiences have influenced contemporary art. Most of the ten chapters that make up this book have been presented as performances to academic or art world audiences, while some are also revisions of articles published in periodicals, such as M/E/A/N/I/N/G, Journal of Contemporary Art, and Art Journal. Frueh's performances intertwine visual art, song, poetry, fiction, art history, sexual intimacies, seductive body movements and costume, and popular culture. Provocative, risqu, and powerful, the results will stimulate interesting dialog among academics particularly. Recommended for collections of art criticism, gender studies, and cultural studies.Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.
Booknews
A well-written introduction to the logic-based Prolog programming language. The book is fairly brief (the main text is only 181 pages long), covering the basic ground in a thorough but readable manner; the included disk contains an "Edinburgh syntax" compliant Prolog interpreter called KProlog which runs under DOS or Windows 3.1. The package is a nice find for the academic or hobbyist interested in becoming acquainted with the fundamentals of Prolog without having to approach the surrounding complexities of formal logic and other more arcane issues, especially as Prolog is a language which is usually limited to treatment in more obscure academic works or computer science courses. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520200821
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
06/01/1996
Pages:
215
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 9.23(h) x 0.61(d)

Meet the Author

Joanna Frueh is an art historian and performance artist who teaches at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective (1989) and coeditor of Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology (1991) and New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action (1994).

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >