Pollock GFS(2018)Charlotte Salomon: The Nameless Artist in the Theatre of Memory1941-2.New Haven and London:Yale University Press.
The first full-scale monographic study of a surviving art work by a German-Jewish artist killed at the age of 23 in Auschwitz.
Pollock G; Silverman M (eds.) (2013)Concentrationary Memories: Totalitarian Terror and Cultural Resistance.Concentrationary Memories: The Politics of Representation.London and New York:I B Tauris.
The second volume of studies edited by Pollock and Silverman developing their theoretical intervention through the concept of the concentrationary universe as a prism through which to cultural resistance to totalitarianism in Europe and beyond since 1939
Pollock G (eds.) (2013)Visual Politics and Psychoanalysis: Art and the Image in Post-traumatic Cultures.New Encounters: Arts, Cultures and Concepts.London and New York:I B Tauris.
Pollock G (eds.) (2013)Visual Politics and Psychoanalysis: Art and the Image in Post Traumatic Cultures.New Encounters: Arts, Cultures and Concepts.London and New York:I B Tauris.
In this innovative collection, a distinguished group of international authors dare to think psychoanalytically about the legacies of political violence and suffering in relation to post-traumatic cultures worldwide. They build on maverick art historian Aby Warburg's project of combining social, cultural, anthropological and psychological analyses of the image in order to track the undercurrents of cultural violence in the representational repertoire of Western modernity. Drawing on post-colonial and feminist theory, they analyze the image and the aesthetic in conditions of historical trauma, from enslavement and colonization to the Irish Famine, from Denmark's national trauma about migrants and cartoons to collective shock after 9/11, from individual traumas of loss registered in allegory to newsreels and documentaries on suicide bombing in Israel/Palestine, and from Kristeva s novels to Kathryn Bigelow's cinema.
Pollock GFS(2013)Concentrationary Memories: Totalitarian Terror and Cultural Resistance.Concentrationary Memory: The Politics of Representation.London and New York:I B Tauris. (Accepted)
The second book of studies on concentrationary memory and concentrationary memories exploring the concept of the concentrationary as a prism for examining the aesthetic responses to various moments and forms of totalitarianism
Pollock G(2013)After-Affects I After-Images: Trauma and Aesthetic Transformation in the Virtual Feminist Museum.Manchester:Manchester University Press.
Do artists journey away from or towards the encounter with trauma. How can aesthetic formulation transform the traces of trauma. IN six case studies, the various economies and trauma and personal and historical extremity are analysed with theories of the image from Warburg and theories of trauma from Freud to Ettinger
Pollock GFS(2013)Reading Van Gogh: Memory, Place and Modernity.London:Yale University Press. (In preparation)
A radical re-reading of the career of Vincent van Gogh in terms of memories of place and displacement including within the formations of modernist painting in late 19th century Europe
Pollock G, Silverman M(2012)Concentrationary cinema: Aesthetics as political resistance in Alain Resnais's Night and Fog.
© 2011, 2014 Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman. All rights reserved. Since its completion in 1955, Alain Resnais's Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) has been considered one of the most important films to confront the catastrophe and atrocities of the Nazi era. But was it a film about the Holocaust that failed to recognize the racist genocide? Or was the film not about the Holocaust as we know it today but a political and aesthetic response to what David Rousset, the French political prisoner from Buchenwald, identified on his return in 1945 as the 'concentrationary universe' which, now actualized, might release its totalitarian plague any time and anywhere? What kind of memory does the film create to warn us of the continued presence of this concentrationary universe? This international collection re-examines Resnais's benchmark film in terms of both its political and historical context of representation of the camps and of other instances of the concentrationary in contemporary cinema. Through a range of critical readings, Concentrationary Cinema explores the cinematic aesthetics of political resistance not to the Holocaust as such but to the political novelty of absolute power represented by the concentrationary system and its assault on the human condition.
Pollock G, Silverman, M(2011)Concentrationary Cinema: Aesthetics as Political Resistance in Alain Resnais's Night and Fog (1955).London and New York:Berghahn Books.
This international collection re-examines Resnais's benchmark film in terms of both its political and historical context of representation of the camps and of other instances of the concentrationary in contemporary cinema.
Pollock G; De Zegher C (eds.) (2011)Bracha L. Ettinger. Art as Compassion.Brussels:ASP Brussels and MER Kunsthaus.
The first art historical monograph on a leading artist Bracha Ettinger tracing her career since the early 1980s with essays by Rosi Huhn, Judith Butler, Catherine de Zegher Christine Buci-Glicksman, Erin Manning, Griselda Pollock
Pollock GFS(2011)AlloThanatography or Allo-Auto-biography A few thoughts on one painting in Charlotte Salomon’s Leben? oder Theater? 1941-42.Frankfurt:Hatje Cantz.
Also included in The Book of Books, Documenta 13 Hatje Cantz 2012.
Pollock G(2007)Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum: Time Space and the Archive.Routledge.
A series of related studies indicating the role of time versus space and the archive; intervention in ways of framing the encounter with art that defies art history's normative models of style, artist, movement and nation by creating impossible conjunctions that reveal thematic and conceptual relations between art works as negoations of meaning systems and sexual difference.
Pollock G(2007)Museums after Modernism: Strategies of Engagement.Blackwell's.
Pollock G(2006)Psychoanalysis and the Image.Blackwell's.
Pollock G(2005)The Case Against Van Gogh: Cities and Countries of Modernism.Thames and Hudson. (In preparation)
Pollock G(2003)Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and the Histories of Art.Taylor and Francis.
Pollock G(2000)Looking Back to the Future: Essays on Art, Life and Death.1.Routledge.
A series of essays some newly published feminist criticism and analysis in fine art, art history and film including autobiographical reflections on psychoanalysis and colonialism. Key essays on Mary Cassatt, Tarzan, and Bracha Ettinger
Mainz VS, Pollock G(2000)Work and the Image.Ashgate.
Pollock G(1999)Differencing the Canon: Feminist Desire and the Writing of Art's Histories.Routledge, London and New York.
Pollock G(1998)Mary Cassatt: Painter of Modern Women.Thames and Hudson, London and New York.
Pollock G(1996)Killing Men and Dying Women: A Woman's Touch in the Cold Zone of 1950s American Painting.Manchester University Press.
Authored article in Co-Authored book (with L.F.Orton), Book Title: "Avant-Gardes and PArtrisans Reviewed", Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 1996.
Pollock G(1996)Avant-Gardes and Partisans Reviewed.Manchester University Press.
Pollock G(2017)“Life? or Theatre?”,TLS-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT.5981: 25-26.
Pollock G(2017)“Staging Subjectivity: Love and Loneliness in the Scene of Painting with Charlotte Salomon and Edvard Munch”,Text Matters.7.7: 114-144.
DOI: 10.1515/texmat-2017-0007, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/118474/
© 2017 Griselda Pollock, published by De Gruyter Open 2017. This paper proposes a conversation between Charlotte Salomon (1917-43) and Edvard Munch that is premised on a reading of Charlotte Salomon's monumental project of 784 paintings forming a single work Leben oder Theater (1941-42) as itself a reading of potentialities for painting, as a staging of subjectivity in the work of Edvard Munch, notably in his assembling paintings to form the Frieze of Life. Drawing on both Mieke Bal's critical concept of "preposterous history" and my own project of "the virtual feminist museum" as a framework for tracing resonances that are never influences or descent in conventional art historical terms, this paper traces creative links between the serial paintings of these two artists across the shared thematic of loneliness and psychological extremity mediated by the legacy of Friedrich Nietzsche.
Pollock G(2017)“The missing wit(h)ness: Monroe, fascinance and the unguarded intimacy of being dead”,Journal of Visual Art Practice.16.3: 265-296.
DOI: 10.1080/14702029.2017.1384912, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/120953/
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. In 1985 journalist Anthony Summers published a post-mortem photograph of Marilyn Monroe, titling it ‘Marilyn in death’, in his book, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe (1985), which investigated the theory that her death was not suicide. The photograph thus acquired forensic significance. My questions are these: Is there an inevitable transgression and even violence in the exposure of an image of a dead woman such as we find in Summers’ and other publications? Under the rubric of this collection, unguarded intimacy, I address a set of paintings made from the morgue photograph of a derelict Marilyn Monroe in the era of feminist ethics by two painters, Margaret Harrison (b.1940) and Marlene Dumas (b. 1953). What are the material and theoretical possibilities of creating feminist e(a)ffects in re-workings of this stolen image if we can distinguish between the forensic notion of the silent witness (the pathologist performing an autopsy whose aftermath this photograph in the morgue indexes) and a concept derived from the Matrixial aesthetics of artist-theorist Bracha Ettinger–aesthetic wit(h)nessing? Can such aesthetic wit(h)nessing deflect the unguarded intimacy of seeing an unattended body in its absolute helplessness by inciting compassion?.
Pollock G(2017)“‘How the political world crashes in on my personal everyday’: Lubaina Himid’s Conversations and Voices: Towards an Essay About Cotton.com”,Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry.43: 18-29.
Pollock G(2016)“Looking Jewish: Visual Culture and Modern Diaspora”,JEWISH HISTORICAL STUDIES-TRANSACTIONS OF THE JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ENGLAND.48.1: 229-234.
Pollock G(2016)“Is feminism a trauma, a bad memory, or a virtual future?”,Differences.27.2: 27-61.
DOI: 10.1215/10407391-3621697, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/123030/
© 2016 by Brown University. Reading the event of feminism as a trauma both to its societies and, as important, to its potential subject-feminists-this article mounts an argument against the iterated feminist memory of warring generations and succeeding waves. Citing Elizabeth Grosz on the constant need for new concepts that enable the heterogeneous actualization of feminism's unharvested virtuality and Ewa Plonowska Ziarek's rereading of suffragette thought as an aesthetic modernism articulating a radical right to revolt and to imagine an undefined feminist futurity, Pollock examines texts by Hannah Arendt, Anna Freud, and Bracha Ettinger to elucidate both de-Oedipalized and non-Oedipal modes of feminist transmission and the institutionalization of feminism. While displacing the familialization of feminism that acts out the daughter's unrelieved "anxiety of influence" in a phallocentric culture structurally committed to mother-hating and mother-blaming, the article explores psychoanalytical foundations for the ethical questions of responsibility in the common but always historically differentiated struggle to incite and sustain the spaces of democratic subjectivities imagined beyond the paradigms of parents, children, and envious siblings.
Pollock G(2016)“Monroe's Molly: Three Reflections on Eve Arnold's Photograph of Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses”,Journal of Visual Culture.15.2: 203-232.
DOI: 10.1177/1470412916648674, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/87859/
© Copyright The Author(s), 2016. It is often said that Marilyn Monroe was even more brilliant in posing for still photography than for cinematic performances. She posed for a range of remarkable photographers creating a secondary archive of 'still Monroe'. Eve Arnold was one of the only women who contributed to this archive. Does gender inflect the images she made of this complex modernist woman of the 1950s? The photo-shoot that brought Arnold and Monroe together in 1955 has incited comment from both cultural and literary scholars because of the seemingly bizarre combination of the sex-goddess reading the most challenging modernist text, Ulysses by James Joyce. As part of the author's current project to re-'read' the Monroe still and moving image archive using the tools of a Warburgian art history focusing on gestures and affects, a postcolonial feminist class analysis of modern women as creative agents within/against sexist and racist cultural institutions, and as a feminist cultural theorist using psychoanalytically-inflected image analysis within historical specificity, this article seeks to revisit and re-read the double agency of the two women at work together making images mediated by what was offered to Baker-Monroe - and knowingly incorporated by her - by the gendered voice of Penelope-Molly in the final section of Ulysses.
Pollock G(2015)“For ZB”,Thesis Eleven.133.1: 119-120.
Pollock G(2014)“Crimes, confession and the everyday: challenges in reading Charlotte Salomon's Leben? oder theater? 1941-1942”,Journal of Visual Culture.13.2: 200-235.
DOI: 10.1177/1470412914532319, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81178/
Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943) was a Jewish-German artist murdered in Auschwitz at the age of 26. She left one massive artwork comprising 784 paintings with text, music and overlays. What is this work? Why was it made? Since its first exhibition and publication in the 1960s it has been treated as an autobiographical narrative and Holocaust testimony. Resisting both trends, this article reframes the work in terms of gender, the event and the everyday in order to examine the implications of a recent revelation, in a film form (2012), of new evidence that the work structurally functions as a crime narrative, even a confession, in the context of familial sexual abuse. Drawing on Pierre Bayard on detective fiction and Derrida on the archive, the article juxtaposes the visual rhetoric of Frans Weisz's 2012 film and the visual rhetoric of several key sections of Salomon's audio-visual Life? or Theatre?, to tease out the visual evidence for this claim.
Pollock G(2014)“Whither art history?”,Art Bulletin.96.1: 9-23.
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81177/
Pollock G(2012)“Muscular defences”,Journal of Visual Culture.11.2: 127-131.
Pollock G(2012)“Saying NO! Profligacy versus Austerity, or Metaphor against Model in Justifying the Arts and Humanities in the Contemporary University.”,Journal of European Popular Culture.3.1 (Submitted)
Demonstrating an analysis of two musicals that both disclose and seek imaginatively to resolve political and economic conflict, an analysis that was the product of the radical interdisciplinary ‘studies’ movements of the culture wars in the late twentieth century university, this article seeks to examine what modes of defence are available to the critical projects in the Arts and Humanities, developed in that moment, when now faced with the culture of austerity. Under the twin rationalizations of audit culture with the accountable excellence and the new model that defines the Arts and Humanities as ‘profligate’ expenses in an age of financial rationing based on economic necessity and required technological orientation, there is a temptation to fall back on nostalgia for an imagined period of academic freedom identified, problematically but not untruthfully, with struggles for democracy through and in education. Based on Hannah Arendt’s defence of thinking via a reading by Judith Butler, and with Gayatri Spivak’s notions of teaching to read as a necessary route to the creation of a planetary community, the article seeks to go beyond the historically compromised defences of self-determining academic freedom, themselves shown to be founded in nationalist and imperialist agendas of the past.
Pollock G(2011)“The lessons of Janina Bauman: Cultural memory from the Holocaust”,Thesis Eleven.107.1: 81-93.
Pollock GFS, Pollock G(2011)“What if Art Desires to be Interpreted? Remodelling Interpretation after the ‘Encounter-Event’”,Tate Papers.15
Pollock GFS(2011)“The lessons of Janina Bauman:Cultural Memory from the Holocaust”,Thesis Eleven: critical theory and historical sociology.107: 81-93.
Bryant A, Pollock G(2010)“Where do Bunnys come from?: From Hamsterdam to hubris in The Wire”,City.14.6: 709-729.
The Wire has not only been identified as one of the greatest television studies of the destitution of the modern American city through the genre of the police procedural, but it has also been hailed as a modern work of tragedy. The strength and depth of its characters confer upon them the tragic status of brave and courageous individuals battling the vagaries of fate. For Simon and Burns, the contemporary gods are, however, the faceless forces of modern capitalism. While acknowledging the necessity for such a cultural reading of the dramaturgy and genuinely tragic pathos achieved by the collaborative writing and creative vision led by David Simon and Ed Burns, this paper challenges this reading since it risks reducing African Americans to passive, albeit tragic victims of all-powerful forces. It also inhibits the possibility of imagining agency and action. Tracking one character, Colonel Howard 'Bunny' Colvin, who has not been fêted or celebrated in the subsequent popular and academic debates about The Wire, the authors argue that Colvin represents a figure of exception in the overall scheme. In several key spheres-creative policing, the drug trade and in education-he is a figure of action. Thus the paper reads this character through the prism of the political theory of Judith Shklar who denounces 'passive injustice' and indifference to misfortune, calling for informal relations of everyday democracy and active citizenship in line with a series of diverse critics of contemporary American urban social relations (Lasch, Sennett). The question of action as itself a form of diagnosis and responsibility leads back to Gramscian concepts of the organic intellectual and to Hannah Arendt. Without losing sight of the fact that The Wire is a fictional drama, the paper argues that narratological analysis of one character can contribute imaginatively to the field of social and political theory while using its affective capacity to situate the viewer/reader in the dilemmas of social practice that the crisis portrayed in The Wire so forcefully represents. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Pollock GFS(2010)“Aesthetic Wit(h)nessing in the Era of Trauma”,EurAmerica: A Journal of European and American Studies.December 2010.40.4: 829-886.
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/82753/
Israeli/French artist and psychoanalytical theorist, Bracha Ettinger has declared: “In art today we are moving from phantasm to trauma. Contemporary aesthetics is moving from phallic structure to matrixial sphere.” In analysing the significance of this claim, this article will bring together the legacies of feminist, post-colonial cultural theories in relation to the current focus on trauma, memory and aesthetics in an international context. The understanding of the twentieth century as a century of catastrophe demands theoretical attention be given to concepts such as trauma, as artists with deep ethical commitments bring issues of traumatic legacies to the surface of cultural awareness and potentially provide through the aesthetic encounter a passage from the traces of trauma. This article introduces, explains and analyses the contribution of Bracha Ettinger as a major theoretician of trauma, aesthetics and above all sexual difference. In addition, it elaborates on her parallel concept of a matrixial aesthetic practice, enacted through a post-conceptual painting, that retunes the legacies of technologies of surveillance and documentation/archiving, as a means to effect the passage to a future that accepts the burden of sharing the trauma while processing and transforming it. The article demonstrates the dual functions of Ettingerian theories of a matrixial supplement to the phallocentric Imaginary and Symbolic in relation to the major challenges we face as we seek to understand, acknowledge and move on from the catastrophes that render our age post-traumatic.
Pollock GFS(2010)“The Long Journey Home: Maternal Trauma, Tears and Kisses in a work by Chantal Akerman’”,Maternal Studies.no 3
Pollock G(2010)“Moments and Temporalities of the Avant-Garde "in, of, and from the feminine"”,NEW LITERARY HIST.41.4: 795-820.
Pollock GFS(2010)“The long journey: maternal trauma, tears and kisses in a work by Chantal Akerman”,Studies in the Maternal.2.1: 1-32.
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81887/
Chantal Akerman is now one of the most highly regarded filmmakers in Europe with a long career reaching back into the 1970s when she was first hailed as part of a new feminist cinema. As independent cinema lost ground and its own locations, Akerman was invited to create installations for her films and thus to traverse the boundaries between cinema and new media art forms. While still making commercial cinema, Akerman elaborates its themes in other forms. One such installation, WALKING NEXT TO ONE'S SHOELACES INSIDE AN EMPTY FRIDGE (2004), created an occasion for her to film together with her own mother, the haunting presence of many of her films and much of the feminist analysis of Akermanian cinema. This time, Akerman led her mother back to her own mother through an object, the only remnant of a young woman murdered in Auschwitz. This paper is an analysis of what happened during this filming which leads to a retrospective reading of Akerman's films from 1968 in terms of traumatic inscriptions of the shared transgenerationally transmitted but unspoken trauma that finds its moment of formulation in this 'event' that was filmed and then made into an installation. Drawing on Ettingerian matrixial revisions to trauma theory and to psychoanalytical aesthetics, notably through the concept of fascinance as a durational non-visual gazing through which the feminine subject seeks knowledge of a feminine other, I argue that we can, in the light of this 'event' of the 2004 work, reconfigure Akerman's work in terms of a journey towards the traumatic kernel that, encrypted, leads to repetition, but formulated through the durational artwork facilitates passage of its remnants.
Pollock GFS(2009)“Mother trouble: the maternal-feminine in phallic and feminist theory in relation to Bratta Ettinger's Elaboration of Matrixial Ethics”,Studies in the Maternal.1.1: 1-31.
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81179/
Pollock GFS(2009)“The Missing Photograph: Maternal Imagoes in Charlotte Salomon's Life/or Theatre?”,New Formations:.Special Issue: Reading Life Writing.No 67: 59-77.
Pollock G(2009)“Art/Trauma/Representation”,PARALLAX.15.1: 40-54.
Bear L, Carolin C, Pollock G, Sidén AS, Carolin C, Haynes C(2008)The politics of display: Ann-Sofisidén's warte MAl!, Art history and social documentary. : 154-174.
Pollock G(2008)Un-Framing the Modern: Critical Space/Public Possibility. : 1-39.
Pollock G(2008)“Psychoanalysis and the Image: Transdisciplinary Perspectives”,Psychoanalysis and the Image: Transdisciplinary Perspectives. : 1-247.
Psychoanalysis and the Image brings together an influential team of international scholars who demonstrate innovative ways to apply psychoanalytical resources in the study of international modern art and visual representation. Examines psychoanalytic concepts, values, debates and controversies that have been hallmarks of visual representation in the modern and contemporary periods Covers topics including melancholia, sex, and pathology to the body, and parent-child relations Advances theoretical debates in art history while offering substantive analyses of significant bodies of twentieth century art Edited by internationally renowned art historian Griselda Pollock. © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Pollock G, Zemans J(2008)“Preface”,Museums After Modernism: Strategies of Engagement.
Pollock G(2008)The Visual. : 173-194.
Pollock G(2007)“What does a woman want? Art investigating death in Charlotte Salomon's Leben? oder Theater?”,ART HIST.30.3: 383-+.
Pollock G(2007)“Thinking sociologically: thinking aesthetically. Between convergence and difference with some historical reflections on sociology and art history”,HIST HUM SCI.20.2: 141-175.
Pollock G(2007)“Freud's Egypt: Mummies and M/Others”,Parallax. : 56-79.
Authored under the alias of Pollock, G.
Pollock G(2007)“Stilled Life:Traumatic Knowing, political violence, and the dying of Anna Frank”,Mortality. : 124-141.
This article is a mediation caused by an encounter in the Jon Blair documentary Anna Frank Remembered (1995) with the only surviving moving footage of Anna Frank, who was made into the iconic image of a repressing memory of the Holocaust as a result of the publication of her diaries and their rendering into a play and film during the 1950s. The case study explores further the conditions under which we can bear to know the suffering of others, examining how and why Frank's gender and age have been used to displace the political conditions of her murder, including a refusal to face the fact of the nature of her dying
Pollock G(2007)“Thinking Sociologically: Thinking Aesthetically”,History of the Human Sciences. : 141-173.
A study of the relations between art history and sociology drawing on Marx's comments in the Grundrisse about the potential end of art with 'production as such.'
Pollock G(2006)“Back to Africa: from Natal to natal in the locations of memory”,Journal of Visual Art Practice. : 49-72.
The article explores the concept of natal memory to explore the deep impressions of birth places in relation to migratory subjectivity. Using Walter Benjamin's idea of bio-mapping to study relations of subjectivity to place, the article triangulates the author's own biographical memories of South Africa, notably Natal, now Kwa-Zululand, in relation to the work of two German-Jewish artists, Charlotte Salomon and Irma Stern, the latter being born and working in South Africa but sharing the engagement with German expressionist painting and the making of visual diaries about subjective dislocation.
Pollock G(2006)“Three essays on trauma and shame: Feminist perspectives on visual poetics”,ASIAN JOURNAL OF WOMENS STUDIES.12.4: 7-31.
Pollock G(2005)“Dreaming the face, screening the death: Reflections for Jean-Louis Schefer on La Jetee”,J VIS CULT.4.3: 287-305.
Pollock G(2004)“Thinking the feminine - Aesthetic practice as introduction to Bracha Ettinger and the concepts of matrix and metramorphosis”,THEOR CULT SOC.21.1: 5-+.
Pollock G(2004)“Mary Kelly's 'Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi': Virtual Trauma and Indexical Witness in the Age of Mediatic Spectacle”,Parallax. : 100-112.
Pollock G(2003)“Visual culture and its discontents: Joining in the debate - Response to Mieke Bal's 'Visual Essentialism and the Object of Visual Culture' (2003)”,J VIS CULT.2.2: 253-260.
Pollock G(2003)“The Grace of Time: Narrativity, Sexuality and A Visual Encounter in the Virtual Feminist Museum”,Art History.26.2: 173-213. (Accepted)
Study of Antonio Canova's Three Graces , using fragments and details to reflect on relations of women's bodies to time and age. Considers a range of representations by women artists such as Jenny SAville, Ella Dreyfus, Melanie Manchot and Camille Claudel
Pollock G(2003)“The grace of time: Narrativity, sexuality and a visual encounter in the Virtual Feminist Museum”,ART HIST.26.2: 174-213.
Pollock G(2003)“Cockfights and Other Parades: Gesture, Difference, and the Staging of meaning in Three Paintings bv Zoffany, Pollock and Krasner”,Oxford Art Journal.26.2: 141-159.
Pollock G(2003)“Responses to Mieke Bal's 'visual essentialism and the object of visual culture' (2003): Visual culture and its discontents: Joining in the debate”,Journal of Visual Culture.2.2: 253-260.
Pollock G(2003)“Cockfights and other parades: Gesture, difference, and the "staging" of meaning in three paintings by Zoffany, Pollock, and Krasner”,OXFORD ART J.26.2: 140-165.
Pollock G(2001)“Painting as a Backward Glance that Does not Kill”,Renaissance and Modern Studies.43: 116-144.
An analysis of a feminist anti-fascist aesthetics of painting through the work of Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger framed by the thinking of Gillian Rose
Pollock G(1999)“'Old Bones and Cocktail Dresses: Louise Bourgeois and the Question of Age'”,Oxford Art Journal.22.2: 71-100.
Pollock GFS(2017)“Monroe's Gestures between Trauma and Ecstacy”,In:Gesture and Film: Signalling New Critical Perspetives.London:Routledge.99-131
Pollock GFS(2015)“Seeing Red, or, When Affect Becomes Form [ Louise Bourgeois Red Room (Child), Red Room (Parent) 1994]”,In:Lorz J (eds.)Louise Bourgeois: Structures of Existence: The Cells.Munich:Prestel.
Pollock G(2014)“The visual poetics of shame: A feminist reading of Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905)”,In:Shame and Sexuality: Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture.109-127
Pollock G(2014)“The city and the event: Disturbing, forgetting and escaping memory”,In:Forty Ways to Think About Architecture: Architectural History and Theory Today.89-94
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved. The body-mind's experience of space and place is shaped by that which it enters, inhabits or is impressed by when confronting the architectural. The Geometry of Conscience, created by Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, represents victims of the Pinochet dictatorship established violently on the first 9/11 with the deposition and death of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected President of Chile. In this chapter, the author makes a conversation between this work and Rue Santa Fe, a film completed in 2007 by Carmen Castillo, former teacher of Latin American history, now writer and documentarist. The documentary film-maker journeying back to a country in search of a house that she wanted to reclaim in order to appease the problem of unfinished memory allows the architectural but also symbolic and affective site, the house, to become the catalyst for the kind of enlivening of memory that Jaar also seeks: uncontained by the monuments that enable forgetting, memory reshaped as life becomes a living force that must also acknowledge the moment that is the present in which the call to responsibility is made, one to one. Both instances attest to the necessity for movement as the opposite of monumentalisation. The creation of something precarious and contingent on the human encounter transcends the pairing of remembering and forgetting and their partner forms, anamnesis and repression, in order to figure, continuously in Jaar's work and in the flash of recognition in Castillo's film, the vitality of active memory as movement.
Pollock G(2013)“From horrorism to compassion: re-facing medusan otherness in dialogue with Adriana Caverero and Bracha Ettinger”,In:Pollock GFS (eds.)Visual Politics and Psychoanalysis: Art & the Image in Post-Traumatic Cultures.New Encounters: Arts, Concepts and Cultures.London and New York:I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.159-189
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81180/
In the light of a story of a Palestinian suicide bomber whose body was confused with an Israeli victim of the bombing, this chapter explores Cavarero's concept of horrorism as a new form of contemporary violence posing Ettinger's theses on compassion and the the aesthetic as a counter-force
Pollock GFS(2013)“Sarah Kofman's Father's Pen and Bracha Ettinger's Mother's Spoon: trauma, transmission and the strings of virtuality”,In:Objects and Materials.London and New York:Routledge.162-172
Pollock GFS(2013)“Writing from the heart”,In:Writing Otherwise: Experiments in Cultural Criticism.Manchester:Manchester University Press.19-34
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81181/
Pollock GFS(2013)“Editor's introduction”,In:Pollock G (eds.)Visual Politics and Psychoanalysis: Art & the Image in Post-traumatic Cultures.New Encounters: Arts, Cultures and Concepts.London and New York:I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.1-22
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81184/
Pollock G(2013)“Auto-history: Frida Kahlo's political imagining”,In:Frida Kahlo: A Life in Art.Ostfilden, German:Hatje Cantz.26-42
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81182/
Pollock G(2012)“The Male Gaze”,In:Evans, Mary; Williams, C (eds.)Gender: The Key Concepts.Routledge.141-148
A critical reading of the misunderstood concept that explains the contradictory conditions under which the position of the gaze has been theorised in psychoanalysis and feminist theory
Pollock GFS(2012)“Trauma, time and painting: Bracha L. Ettinger and the matrixial aesthetic”,In:Zarzycka M; Papenburg B (eds.)Carnal Aesthetics.London and New York:I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.21-41
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81183/
Pollock G(2012)“Death in the image: The responsibility of aesthetics in Night and Fog (1955) and Kapò (1959)”,In:Concentrationary Cinema: Aesthetics as Political Resistance in Alain Resnais's Night and Fog.258-301
Pollock G, Silverman M(2012)“Introduction: Concentrationary cinema”,In:Concentrationary Cinema: Aesthetics as Political Resistance in Alain Resnais's Night and Fog.1-54
Pollock GFS(2012)“Photographing Atrocity: Becoming Iconic”,In:Batchen G; Gidley M; Miller NK; Prosser J (eds.)Picturing Atrocity.London:Reaktion.65-78
A volume of essays by leading photography writers and critics, published to benefit Amnesty International, cites such examples as the work of Susan Sontag to question whether photography of disturbing images stirs empathy or voyeurism in ...
Pollock GFS(2012)“Los Momentos de Maria Blanchard”,In:Bernardez C (eds.)Maria Blanchard.Madrid:Edicion a cargo del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia y la Fundacion Botin.81-94
Pollock GFS(2011)“‘Too Early and Too Late: Melting Solids and Traumatic Encryption in the Sculptural Dissolutions of Alina Szapocznikov'”,In:Jakubowska A (eds.)Awkward Objects: Alina Szapocznikow.Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.71-102
Drawing on the work of prominent art historians, curators, critics, and collectors, this exhibition catalogue presents the most current research on the work of Alina Szapocznikow.
Pollock G(2011)“'History versus Mythology: Van Gogh and Dutchness’”,In:Esner R; Schavemaker M (eds.)Vincent Everywhere.Amsterdam Univ Pr.
The book ends with an analysis of van Gogh in his own time, when he was acutely aware of his own foreignness as an immigrant in England, Belgium, and France, and when conflicts first arose over the location, both figurative and literal, of ...
Pollock G(2011)“Aby Warburg and Memosyne: Photography as aide-memoire, Optical Unconscious and Philosophy”,In:Caraffa C (eds.)Photo Archives and the Photographic Memory of Art History.Munich:Deutscher Kunstverlag.73-98
Pollock G(2011)“The Missing Future: MoMA and Modern Women”,In:Butler C (eds.)Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art.New York:Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.12-27
Pollock G(2011)“What Women Want: Psychoanalysis and Cultural Critique”,In:Posner, H (eds.)The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure the Signs of Power 1973-1991.New York:Neuberger Museum of Art; Delmonico Books-Prestel.68-82
re-examined the theoretical and aesthetically critiques generated by artists and cultural theorists ca 1980 in relation to the questions of identity, sexual difference and the politics of representation
Pollock GFS(2011)“Death in the Image: Aesthetics and Responsibility in Pontecorvo's Kapo (1959) and Alain Resnais' Night and Fog (1955)”,In:Pollock G; Silverman M (eds.)Concentrationary Cinema. (Accepted)
Pollock GFS(2010)“Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum”,In:Hayden MH; Skrubbe JS (eds.)Feminisms is still our name.Cambridge Scholars Publishing.105-140
Indeed, this volume provides strong arguments that historiographical critique is an inevitable part of any future feminism(s).
Pollock GFS(2010)“Ecoutez La Femme: Hear/Here Difference”,In:Hanson H; O'Rawe C (eds.)The Femme Fatale.Palgrave MacMillan.9-34
These essays trace the femme fatale across literature, visual culture and cinema, exploring the ways in which fatal femininity has been imagined in different cultural contexts and historical epochs, and moving from mythical women such as ...
Pollock GFS(2010)“The missing future: MOMA and modern women”,In:Butler C; Schwartz A (eds.)Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art.New York:The Museum of Modern Art.
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/81888/
Pollock G(2010)“Beyond Oedipus: Feminist Thought, Psychoanalysis, and Mythical Figurations of the Feminine”,In:Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought.
© Oxford University Press 2006. All rights reserved. If Virginia Woolf is icon of and legend for later 20th-century feminist theory, Jane Harrison transformed a phallic lack into a feminist legacy. While many intellectual women engaged with psychoanalysis soon after its initiation and many radically revised Freud's theses of the Oedipus complex, none truly challenged the fundamental premises of its ultimately defining role around the theme of castration in human subjectivity that frames our concepts of sexual difference and sexuality. This chapter examines feminist thought, modernity and femininity, and mythical configurations of the feminine. It looks beyond Freud's particular relationship with Oedipus to the figure of Antigone and discusses how Antigone's relationship to her brother Polyneices can be reconfigured as an unconditional bond to the maternal other. The model of trans-subjective suffering found in Antigone demonstrates the continuing power of classical myth to question the premises of psychoanalysis even as it has inspired them.
Pollock G(2009)“Overhearing History: Mary Kelly's Narratives of the Political Everyday”,In:Warsaw MS (eds.)Mary Kelly: Words are Things.Centre for Contemporary Art:
Pollock G(2009)“An Engaged Contribution to Thinking about Interpretation in Research in/into Practice”,In:Biggs M; Hertfordshire UO (eds.)The Problem of Interpretation in Research and Performing Arts Creative Practice.Working Papers in Art and Design.
Pollock G(2009)“Orphee et Eurydice/l'espace/le regard traumatique”,In:Kristeva J (eds.)Guerre et Paix des Sexes.Paris:
Pollock G(2009)“Beyond Words: the Acoustics of Movement, Memory and Loss in Three Video Works by Martina Attille, Mona Hatoum and Trcey Moffat, circa 1989”,In:Aydemir M; Rotas A (eds.)Migratory Settings: Transnational Perspectives on Place.Amsterdam:
Pollock G(2009)“Concentrationary Legacies: thinking through the racism of minor differences”,In:Huggan G (eds.)Racism and Postcolonial Europe.Liverpool University Press.
Pollock G(2009)“Modernite, Feminite, Representation”,In:Elles@Pompidou.Paris:
Pollock G(2008)“What Does a Woman Want? Art INvesstigating Death in Charlotte Salomon's Leben? oder Theater?1941-2”,In:Cherry D (eds.)About Mieke Bal.Wiley-Blackwell.83-105
Ana analysis of Charlotte Salomon's major artwork in terms of an Orphic journey to encounter dead women of the artist's family so as to pose the question of desiring death or desiring life
Pollock G(2008)“Mapping the 'bios' in two graphic systems with gender in mind: reading Van Gogh through Charlotte Salomon”,In:Arnold D; Sofaer J (eds.)Biographies and Space: Placing the Subject in art and architecture.Routledge.115-138
Working from Walter Benjamin's proposal for a bio-mapping of a subject's history, the article reads Van Gogh's deep attachments to natal space through a later artist's exploration of the subjectivised spatiality of others as a means to inscribe her own displacement as a German Jewish artist emerging during the Third Reich
Pollock G(2008)“Feminism and culture: Theoretical perspectives”,In:The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Analysis.249-270
Pollock G(2007)“Life-Mapping: Or, Walter Benjamin and Charlotte Salomon Never Met”,In:Pollock G; Bal IBM (eds.)Conceptual Odysseys: Passages to Cultural Analysis.I B Tauris.63-90
The article establishes the conditions under which the artist Charlotte Salomon contemplated and resisted the lure of suicide by means of exploring the different places in which she staged the deaths of others to whom she addressed the question of living or dying in catastrophic historical and personal circumstances through a massive painting project.
Pollock G(2007)“Sacred Cows: Wandering in Feminism, Psychoanalysis and Anthropology”,In:Pollock G; Sauron VT (eds.)The Sacred and the Feminine: Imagination and Sexual Difference.I B Tauris.9-48
Responding to Clément and Kristeva's epistolary exchanges on the topic of the feminine and the sacred, this chapter introduces a collection of papers on the sacred and the feminine, and undertakes an analysis of the deep mythic association of the feminine to life in the figure of the cow, concluding with a reading of the red cow sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible, re-interpreted
Pollock G(2007)“Diary Drawings”,In:Barrett M; Baker B (eds.)Bobby Baker: Redeeming Features of Daily Life.Routledge.251-267
A study of the diary drawings of Bobby Baker undertaken during her chronic mental illness.
Pollock G(2007)“Maman! Invoking the m/Other in the Web of the Spider”,In:Wachtmeister M (eds.)Louise Bourgeois : Maman.Stockholm: Atlantis.65-102
Pollock G(2007)“Daydreaming before History: The Last Works of Sigmund Freud and Charlotte Salomon”,In:Durrant S; Lord CM (eds.)Essays in Migratory Aesthetics: Cultural Practices between Migration and Art-Making.Amsterdam: Rodopi ( Thamyris-Intersecting Place, Sex, Race).205-228
A study of Freud's Moses and Monotheism as a work shaped by the trauma of imminent exile which is juxtaposed to the images of departure in Charlotte Salomon's Leben? oder Theater. Both works are reviewed in the light of the writings by Edward Said and Jacques Derrida on Freud's last work, which is shown to be deep meditation on trauma as a cultural force in the creation of cultural memory
Pollock G(2007)“Daily life 1: Kitchen show”,In:Bobby Baker: Redeeming Features of Daily Life.178-184
Pollock G(2007)“Femininity: Aporia or Sexual Difference”,In:Ettinger B; Massumi EB; Butler PJ (eds.)The Matrixial Borderspace.University of Minnesota Press.1-40
An extended introduction to Bracha Ettinger's revolutionary theories of matrix, metramorphosis and a feminine sexual difference beyond the phallic.
Pollock G(2007)“Not-forgetting Africa: The Dialectics of Attention/Inattention...in the work of Alfredo Jaar”,In:Lepdor C (eds.)Alfredo Jarr: La Politique des Images.jrp/ringier.113-137
Pollock G(2006)“The Image in Psychoanalysis and the Archaeological Metaphor”,In:Pollock G (eds.)Psychoanalysis and the Image.Blackwell's.1-29
Pollock G(2006)“Theatre of Memory: Trauma and Cure in Charlotte Salomon's Modernist Fairytale”,In:Steinberg MP; Bohm-Duchen M (eds.)Reading Charlotte Salomon.Cornell University Press.34-72
Study of trauma, memory and art in the work of German-Jewish refugee artist Charlotte Salomon
Pollock G(2006)“Beyond Oedipus: Feminist Thought, Psychoanalysis and Mythical Figurations of the Feminine”,In:Zajdko V; Leonard M (eds.)Laughing with Medusa.Oxford University Press.67-120
Pollock G(2006)“Theatre of Memory: Trauma and Cure in Charlotte Salomon's Modernist Fairytale”,In:Steinberg M; Bohm-Duchen M (eds.)Reading Charlotte Salomon.Cornell University Press.34-72
Authored under the alias of Pollock, G.
Pollock G(2005)“Louise Abbema's Lunch and Alfred Stevens's Studio: Theatricality, Feminine Subjectivity and Space around Sarah Bernhardt 1877-1888”,In:Helland J; Cherry D (eds.)Studio, Sociality and Space.Ashgate.pp.00+ (Accepted)
A study of two paintings in which Sarah Bernhardt is represented by Louise Abbema, her life-time companion and Belgian painter Alfred Stevens.
Pollock G(2005)“Feminist Dilemmas with the Art/Life Problem”,In:Bal M (eds.)The Artemisia Files: Artemisia Gentileschi for Feminists and other Thinking People.Chicago University Press.169-212
Pollock G(2005)“Agnes Dreaming: Dreaming Agnes”,In:Zegher CD; Teicher H (eds.)3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing: Hilma Af Klimt, Emma Kunz, Agnes Martin.Yale University Press.159-182
Pollock G(2004)“Femininity, Modernity and Representation: The Maternal Image, Sexual Difference and the Disjunctive Temporality of the Avant-Garde”,In:
- Flâneur: literally a “stroller” or “lounger” in French. In the nineteenth century, a flâneur refers to a bourgeois man of leisure, who strolls around the city observing his surroundings. During this decade, the flâneur is the archetype of the urban modern male experience.
- Femme Fatale: an attractive, mysterious, and dangerously seductive woman who will ultimately bring disaster to any man who becomes involved with her.
- New Woman: a feminist; an educated, independent career woman. The New Woman was a feminist ideal that emerged in the late nineteenth century as a counterpoint to the traditional definition of woman as a demure homemaker dependent upon a man to care for her.
Defining Gender Roles:
- Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1785
- Jacques-Louis David, The Lictors Brining to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons for Burial, 1789
- Edwin Landseer, Windsor Castle in Modern Times, 1841-45
- Gustave Caillebotte, Boulevard Seen from Above, 1880
- Gustave Caillebotte, Traffic Island on Boulevard Haussmann, 1880
- Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877
- Gustave Caillebotte, Le Pont de l’Europe, 1876
- Édouard Manet, Masked Ball at the Opera, 1873
- Édouard Manet, Concert in the Tuileries Gardens, 1862
- Mary Cassatt, The Opera, 1877
- Pierre-August Renoir’s The Loge, 1874
- Mary Cassatt’s Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge, 1879
- Berthe Morisot, The Cradle, 1872
- Mary Cassatt, The Bath, 1891-92
- Pierre-August Renoir, Maternity, 1885
- Berthe Morisot, On the Balcony, 1872
- Gustave Moreau, Salome Dancing before Herod, 1876
- Fernand Khnopff, Caresses, 1896
- Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, 1785
- Rosa Bonheur, The Horse Fair, 1853
- Rosa Bonheur, Plowing in the Nivernais, 1849
- Gustave Courbet, White Bull and Blonde Heifer, 1850
- Berthe Morisot, The Wet Nurse, 1880
Gender and the Nude:
- Jacques-Louis David, Death of Socrates, 1787
- Anne-Louis Girodet, The Sleep of Endymion, 1791
- Jean Broc, The Death of Hyacinth, 1801
- Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Venus Anadyomene, 1808
- Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Grande Odalisque, 1814
- Édouard Manet, Olympia, 1863
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Large Bathers, 1887
- Edgar Degas, The Tub, 1886
- Paul Cezanne, Large Bathers, 1906
- Gustave Caillebotte, Man at His Bath, 1884
- Thomas Eakins, Max Schmitt in a Single Scull, 1871
Defining Gender Roles
For the most part, the nineteenth century conceived of gender as a binary of masculine versus feminine. A good way to start a discussion of this divide is through the Neoclassical paintings of Jacques-Louis David. In works like Oath of the Horatii (1785) or The Lictors Bringing to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons for Burial (1789), David clearly illustrates the gender roles of the time: men are energetic, muscular, and heroic, while women are soft, fragile, and emotional. Moreover, David underlines this division through his clear, ordered composition by physically separating the genders so that the women slump over, weep, and mourn on one side of the painting, while the men take charge and prepare for battle or deal with the difficult decisions of a leader on the other.
In a somewhat less dramatic way, Edwin Landseer conveys similar ideas about the roles of men versus women in his Windsor Castle in Modern Times (1841-45). While it is a portrait of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, Victoria is depicted as a typical middle-class woman of the time, not a ruling monarch. Dressed in soft colors and carefully put together, Victoria welcomes her husband home from the hunt. The scene suggests that the interior space of the home is Victoria’s dominion, like a good middle-class woman, while hunting and the outside world belong to Prince Albert. It is a harmonious domestic scene in which Victoria plays the role of the modest and devoted wife and Prince Albert the virile, bread-winning husband (with his recent kill scattered about his feet).
This divide between the spheres for men and women remained an important social doctrine throughout the nineteenth century. Man’s connection to the public sphere is best exemplified in the second half of the nineteenth century by the figure of the flâneur—the man of leisure who strolls throughout the city carefully observing the world, while he himself remains almost invisible. A homogenizing black attire was popular among bourgeois males at the time, which allowed them to move through the city without drawing attention to themselves, thus infusing them with the all-important power of the gaze—of seeing without being seen. The gaze is a very significant issue in nineteenth-century gender politics as it functions as a symbol of the power dynamics between the dominant person observing (often a man) and the vulnerable person being observed (often a woman). The politics of the gaze involves not only the power dynamics of who is looking at whom within the painting, but also who is looking at the painting. Who was the image intended for? Was it a privately owned work and only seen by a few select (most likely male) viewers? Or would it have been displayed in a public venue like the Paris Salon and seen by both men and women?
The boundless world of the flâneur can most clearly be seen in the works of the Impressionist artist Gustave Caillebotte. Following Haussmann’s renovation of Paris, Caillebotte took to depicting the new, open spaces of the city that encouraged social interaction and a rise in the upper middle class. In images like Boulevard Seen from Above (1880) and Traffic Island on Boulevard Haussmann (1880), the neutral beiges of the city streets are punctuated by wandering, anonymous figures clad in the black coat and top hat of the bourgeoisie man. They are solitary figures moving throughout these new public spaces, completely open only to men. They may go anywhere and do anything without a chaperone.
The accessibility of public spaces for men is further demonstrated in some of Caillebotte’s more famous works, like Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877) and Le Pont de l’Europe (1876). Again, independent male figures punctuate these street scenes. Women, however, such as the female figure holding the man’s arm in the foreground of Paris Street; Rainy Day, must be in the company of an escort if she is to retain her reputation as an honest, moral woman (an unaccompanied woman was assumed to be a prostitute). Based on this critical social norm, there has been much debate about the status of the woman at the center of Caillebotte’s Le Pont de l’Europe. The ambiguous amount of space between her and the bourgeois man walking in front of her bring doubts about whether the two are together or the man is propositioning her.
While good bourgeois women had limited public spaces available to them, bourgeois men could go anywhere and mix with all levels of society, their reputations unscathed. Édouard Manet’s Masked Ball at the Opera (1873) is good example of the nightlife entertainment open to them. The anonymous sea of uniformly black-clad men is punctuated by masked female figures in a scene of coquetry. No proper woman would appear in a space like this where men and women mix in such a flirtatious and informal manner. These instead are the women of the demi-monde (women of questionable morality and social standing).
Manet further demonstrates the difference between the near invisibility of the flâneur compared to bourgeois women in his Concert in the Tuileries Gardens (1862). The uniformity of male fashion at the time again allows them to wander through the scene and the public space anonymously. In contrast, the voluminous, brightly colored dresses worn by the women make them instantly visible—most notably with the matching yellow dresses and blue bonnets of the mother and daughter in the immediate foreground of the scene.
The gender politics of sight and visibility in nineteenth-century France are also outlined by the female artist Mary Cassatt in The Opera (1877). The woman in the immediate foreground peers through her opera glasses (presumably to better see the performers on stage), while in the background, a man can been seen using his glasses, not to watch the performance, but to spy on the women in the boxes around him. Just being out in public—even in an acceptable venue like the opera—made women susceptible to male gaze and the power dynamics associated with it.
In contrast to their male counterparts, bourgeois women could either stay home or venture out in select public spaces only if accompanied by a proper chaperone. Because of these restrictions, female artists had fewer experiences to draw from than their male colleagues. Griselda Pollock’s landmark essay “Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity” discusses the way that contemporary gender roles impacted the subject matter depicted by the female versus male Impressionist artists. As Pollock points out, social restrictions prevented female Impressionist artists like Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt from being able to attend the new nighttime entertainment spots that occupied their male colleagues, like the café-concert or the cabaret. In the nineteenth-century mindset, only women with loose morals would converse with men so informally and without a chaperone in these settings. According to Pollock, because of these constrictions on their mobility, female Impressionist artists therefore tended to focus on the lives and experiences of women— most often the experience of childrearing.
Within her article, Pollock provides two grids in which she outlines the various venues that frequently appear in Impressionist paintings, the types of women/occupations often represented, and the artists who depict them, divided into two columns, male and female. Recreating these grids for the class using actual images could be an effective way to discuss Pollock’s essay. Alternatively, after assigning your students the reading for class, you could bring images in unordered and, either in groups or as a whole, have the students organize them based on the logic of Pollock’s argument.
Or, do a comparison as a class of two paintings, one by a male artist and another by a female artist, that depict the same public space, like Pierre-August Renoir’s The Loge (1874) and Cassatt’s Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge (1879). Then, move from the public to the private sphere and discuss Morisot’s The Cradle (1872) and Cassatt’s The Bath (1891-92), both female artists who frequently address the theme of motherhood in their art. These are more than archetypal scenes of mother and child drawing on the Christian theme of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child. They are distinctively modern scenes—and spaces exclusively available to women in the nineteenth century: the nursery and the child’s bath. Furthermore, there is a complex psychological bond and emotional connection between mother and child in Morisot and Cassatt’s maternal images that is often lacking in comparable works by their male colleagues. Morisot and Cassatt could be compared with the work of Renoir, who created numerous images of women and children. For example, he created several paintings depicting his wife nursing their son, Maternity (1885), which is more of a nostalgic image of wholesome, pre-modern, rustic maternity than an exploration of the psychological relationships between the two.
Morisot also poignantly illustrates the sphere of women in her scenes of mothers and daughters out in the city together, such as in On the Balcony (1872). Mother and daughter stand on a balcony overlooking a view of the city of Paris (distinguishable in the distance through the gold dome of Les Invalides). The child, still young and unfamiliar with her expectations in life, peers through the fence, looking out toward the city. The mother, on the other hand, aware that the public life of the city is not open to her, looks down at her daughter.
Women started to push back against their prescribed gender roles toward the end of the nineteenth century, and called for more liberty and socio-political rights. As female gender roles began to change, the figure of the New Woman—an educated, independent career woman—emerged. Many men were wary of the New Woman and the autonomy she demanded. They lashed back against this early form of feminism with warnings of the dangerous power of women, and depictions of the femme fatale, or a dangerous, evil woman, in art and popular culture.
One of the earliest representations of the femme fatale is Gustave Moreau’s Salome Dancing before Herod (1876). A biblical figure, Salome is often considered to be the original femme fatale as she used her powers of seduction to secure the death of John the Baptist. In exchange for the saint’s head on a platter, Salome agreed to dance the erotic Dance of the Seven Veils for her stepfather, Herod Antipas. She thus uses her dangerous power of allure to secure the death of a good and honorable man.
Another good example of the femme fatale in art is Fernand Khnopff’s Caresses (1896), in which a female-headed leopard embraces a young man. Khnopff’s image references the story of Oedipus, who must solve the riddle of the sphinx to gain entry to Thebes. Unlike earlier depictions of this myth—most famously, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s Oedipus and the Sphinx (1808)—the male youth lacks the muscular physique typical of classical heroes. He does not appear to be the one in power here, especially since the woman-beast’s left forepaw rests strategically just above his groin, alluding to the possibility of castration.
Women were not only limited in the spaces they could inhabit, they were also limited in their educational opportunities—especially in terms of art production. Before the French Revolution of 1789, the French Academy limited the number of female admissions to four, and following the Revolution, women were then excluded from the Academy until 1897. As Linda Nochlin outlines in her canonical essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” women were expected to restrict themselves to the polite arts of flower and porcelain painting and were denied access to nude models because it was deemed improper—especially if the model was male. This exclusion severely impacted female artists’ ability to effectively execute large figural paintings and compete on the same level as their male colleagues. Nochlin’s essay is an important feminist art-historical text, largely because it moves beyond the early impulse to uncover forgotten female artists and approaches the discussion of female artists from another perspective. By admitting that there actually haven’t been any “great women artists,” Nochlin examines why that is and what prevented female artists from becoming “great.”
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait with Two Pupils (1785) provides an opportunity to discuss gender politics that female artists faced in the academy in the late eighteenth century. A member of the French Academy (she and her contemporary Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun were both admitted in 1783), Labille-Guiard was a staunch defender of the rights of women artists. This self-portrait was painted as a retort to sexist rumors that her works were not painted by her, but had actually been painted by men. She positions herself at the center of the composition, seated before a large canvas and holding the tools of a serious artist, including a maulstick, which was only used by history painters, defiantly staring out of the canvas at the viewer. She also inserts herself into a position of authority, as her eager pupils stand behind her. However, her precarious status as a woman and an artist is subtly alluded to by the fashionable, completely impractical dress that she wears. This is common in female artists’ self-portraits from this time period, also evident in self-portraits by Judith Leyster and Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun. Although these women wanted to depict themselves as serious, professional artists, societal expectation prevented them from doing so at the loss of their femininity, which is closely tied to their attire.
In light of the gender politics female artists faced, the life, work, and success of the Realist animal painter Rosa Bonheur is all the more remarkable (as Nochlin herself discusses at length in her article). Determined to make a name for herself as an artist on masculine terms, she rejected the dainty subjects expected of female painters in favor of animal painting. Bonheur’s The Horse Fair (1853) illustrates the way she tackled a traditionally masculine subject on the monumental scale of history painting. Like male artists, Bonheur studied animals from life, visiting the local horse market in Paris to sketch. And, in order to visit these hyper-masculine spaces unnoticed and unmolested, Bonheur obtained special permission from the police to dress in men’s clothing. Like Labille-Guiard, Bonheur sought to prove that women were as equally capable of quality, artistic production as men.
After introducing Bonheur, compare one of her images, like Plowing in the Nivernais (1849), with a similar image created by a male artist, such as Gustave Courbet’s White Bull and Blonde Heifer (1850). Have your students discuss how each artist addresses the subject matter compositionally and how they each actually treat the animals’ form. Are there noticeable differences? Is one more effective than the other? What does that tell us? You could also not tell your students who created which image and see if they can easily identify which was created by a female artist and which a male (either in groups or together as a class). Have them provide solid visual evidence for their argument, and then discuss why they came to the conclusions they did.
Berthe Morisot’s Wet Nurse (1880) is another suitable artwork to examine the obstacles that female artists faced in the nineteenth century. In another seminal essay, “Morisot’s Wet Nurse: The Construction of Work and Leisure in Impressionist Painting,” Linda Nochlin identifies the scene as depicting not just any wet nurse, but the woman who Morisot herself hired to provide for her own daughter, Julie. In addition to representing a type of servant that Morisot was expected to employ as a proper bourgeois woman—and which provided her with enough independence from her child to pursue a professional artistic career—The Wet Nurse is also a good example of Morisot’s mature painting style. Over time, Morisot’s style became more Impressionistic as her palette lightened and her brushstrokes became more visible and broken. Unlike the male Impressionists, however, Morisot was not criticized for this style because it was perceived as inherently feminine.
Gender and the Nude
In addition to discussing gender in relation to the nineteenth-century ideology of separate spheres, the theme of the nude is another rich thread that concerns both masculinity and femininity.
With the revival of Greco-Roman art in the eighteenth century, the muscular male physique was considered the ideal by Neoclassical artists like Jacques-Louis David. One good example is the youthful musculature of the aged Socrates in David’s Death of Socrates (1787). In the wake of the French Revolution of 1789, the male body lost some of its virility and became more androgynous as artists turned away from the hyper-masculinity of David’s Neoclassicism, which was intrinsically linked to the Revolution—and the horrors it wrought. This trend is most notable in the art of David’s students. Images like Anne-Louis Girodet’s Sleep of Endymion (1791) and Jean Broc’s Death of Hyacinth (1801) thus reject the heroic warriors that embody Neoclassicism and instead depict a more sensual, erotic male nude.
While the male nude remained a favorite throughout the reign of Napoleon (who himself was obsessed with classical culture), the female nude never fully disappeared. Female display nudes (or images whose chief aim is to exhibit an idealized, sensualized depiction of the nude female form) from the Renaissance, like Titian’s Venus of Urbino (1538), were typically painted for private chambers, not public display (where we typically see more impassive nudes derived from antiquity). In the nineteenth century, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres established the female academic nude for public exhibition with his Venus Anadyomene (1808) and Grande Odalisque (1814), which served as the prototypes for the standing and reclining nude, respectively. In his paintings, Ingres emphasizes the smooth, sensuousness of the female form, at times manipulating the figure’s anatomy, altering or omitting certain elements to enhance their aesthetic beauty. For example, he famously added at least three vertebrate to the spine to produce a more alluring S-curve in the Grande Odalisque. He also removed unseemly hair and genitalia from Venuses, nymphs, or odalisques (women whose natural state is to be unclothed and therefore acceptable) to create images suitable for public display.
Following in Ingres’ wake, academic nudes became increasingly popular throughout the nineteenth century. By 1863, the Salon was so full of female nudes that the art critic Théophile Gautier mockingly dubbed it the “Salon of the Venuses.” In response to this overabundance of idealized nudes—as well as the recent call for artists to depict subjects of their own time—Édouard Manet exhibited his Olympia (1863) at the Salon of 1865. Clearly inspired by a famous Renaissance painting, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Olympia turns the female academic nude on its head by presenting, not a mythological or exotic figure, but a contemporary French prostitute for public display. Unlike the nudes of Ingres and Titian, Olympia is confrontational and not nude, but naked, and was therefore extremely controversial.
However, Manet eventually paved the way for the contemporary nude to become popular as well. As artists increasingly turned to modern life to derive their subject matter, mythological nudes began to be replaced by a comparable figure from contemporary life: the bather. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Paul Cézanne all addressed the theme of the bather, but varied in their departure from tradition. An image like Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Large Bathers (1887) is most closely linked to the tradition of the academic nude. Although Renoir’s bodies are much more naturalistic in their anatomy and proportions than Ingres’ unrealistically manipulated forms, they are still idealized through their fleshiness and the gentle contours of their bodies. While there is some attempt at individuality and no allusion to mythology, the women somehow still exist in a state of timeless beauty.
In contrast to Renoir, Edgar Degas’s The Tub (1886) is firmly rooted in the modern world. While Renoir’s female bathers each pose in the perfect position so that they may be seen from the back, the side, or the front (in the classical tradition of the Three Graces), Degas’ bather is absorbed in her own activities, completely unaware that she is being observed. These images feel voyeuristic, as though we are peeking through a keyhole and invading the woman’s privacy. She is also bathing herself in a manner that was uncharacteristic of the habits of bourgeois women at the time. Because of this, it has been proposed that Degas’ bathers are prostitutes cleaning themselves between clients in an attempt to prevent the spread of disease, thus further removing them from any connection to the classical world.
Paul Cezanne’s Large Bathers (1906) likewise departs from the traditional academic nude—but primarily in form, not in composition. The image is rooted in several academic conventions: some of the bathers’ poses reflect classical statuary, the triangular composition derives from Renaissance painting, and the scene fulfills the traditional requirements of history painting as a large multi-figure canvas. However, Cezanne’s distinctive patchy, constructivist stroke and his almost animalistic treatment of the figures distinctively separates his bathers from the smooth, idealized forms of Ingres, and even Renoir.
During the ascendency of the female nude in the nineteenth century, the male figure falls somewhat out of favor. By the mid-nineteenth century, the archetypal male figure evolves from the heroic, muscular warrior to the cultivated, urban flâneur. This led to concerns about the loss of masculine virility toward the end of the century, as illustrated by Gustave Caillebotte’s Man at His Bath (1884). Encapsulating these concerns about male vulnerability, Caillebotte depicts a man rather than a woman at her bath, turning the bathing theme on its head. As in Degas’ The Tub, the man appears to be unaware he is being observed and is at the mercy of the viewer’s gaze. With his discarded clothes and workman’s boots on the floor, he is decidedly not a classical hero, but a contemporary working-class man. Furthermore, his nudity makes him vulnerable, therefore signaling a loss of power.
[NOTE: Caillebotte is also, of course, not the only artist to depict male bathers. Most notably, they appear in the works of Frederic Bazille and Paul Cezanne. Male bathers, however, are usually shown wearing bathing suits (not nude) and are typically discussed in relation to homosocial relations—especially in Bazille’s works.]
This concern with masculine virility appears throughout Caillebotte’s oeuvre, such as in his paintings of floor-scrapers and rowers. It also appears in the work of other late-nineteenth-century artists, like Thomas Eakins, who frequently depicts strong, athletic, moral men in his art, such as Max Schmitt in a Single Scull (1871), which celebrates the rower’s skill and physical prowess.