In this mesmerizing, utterly original work, noted performance artist Joanna Frueh affirms the erotic both as a form of communion and transcendence and as a critical practice. Frueh rejects postmodern prose, using lush, graphic and sexual language to explore aging, beauty, sex, love, pleasure, contemporary art, and the body as a site and vehicle of knowledge and wisdom. Speaking in the multiple voices of lover, prophet, daughter, mythmaker, art critic, activist, and bleeding heart, Frueh seeks to loose the power ...
In this mesmerizing, utterly original work, noted performance artist Joanna Frueh affirms the erotic both as a form of communion and transcendence and as a critical practice. Frueh rejects postmodern prose, using lush, graphic and sexual language to explore aging, beauty, sex, love, pleasure, contemporary art, and the body as a site and vehicle of knowledge and wisdom. Speaking in the multiple voices of lover, prophet, daughter, mythmaker, art critic, activist, and bleeding heart, Frueh seeks to loose the power of our unutilized erotic faculties with all of their widely expansive potential. Recuperating the sentimental, proudly asserting a romantic viewpoint, disrupting academic and feminist conventions, Erotic Faculties is a wild ride and a consummate pleasure.
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)
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.
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)
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).