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“Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert) is an artful, insightful, and important collection of performance texts by artist and scholar Joanna Frueh. Indeed, Clairvoyance could be considered an essential primer for feminists.” — Joanna Chlebus, Feminist Review blog
“Clairvoyance couples the strength of her words and the stage direction, to give the reader quite a vivid look into the life of this exceptional artist.” — Jenna V. Loceff, Curve
“[A] a beautiful and very pink 400-page tome that looks great on a coffee table. . . . Clairvoyance is a great place to start learning about not just 20th-century performance art, but also about one of the more intriguing and unheralded performance artists of our time.” — Jarret Keene, Tucson Weekly
“Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert) is an artful, insightful, and important collection of performance texts by artist and scholar Joanna Frueh. Indeed, Clairvoyance could be considered an essential primer for feminists.” —Joanna Chlebus, Feminist Review blog
“Clairvoyance couples the strength of her words and the stage direction, to give the reader quite a vivid look into the life of this exceptional artist.” —Jenna V. Loceff, Curve
“[A] a beautiful and very pink 400-page tome that looks great on a coffee table. . . . Clairvoyance is a great place to start learning about not just 20th-century performance art, but also about one of the more intriguing and unheralded performance artists of our time.” —Jarret Keene, Tucson Weekly
“In this time of fabrication and disconnect—body from image, self from its representation—it is good to be reminded that early feminist artists did not separate body from consciousness from politics from theory. Joanna Frueh’s explorations in performance, photography, and texts are the real (un-airbrushed) deal, revealing the works of a particular and specific body-self, just flawed enough to be inspiriting.” — Suzanne Lacy, Otis College of Art and Design
“There is a lot of talk in academia about innovation and independence, but there is also a lot of what Nietzsche called ‘herd mentality.’ For those searching for an independent voice, here it is. Joanna is everything academic critics like: theoretically sophisticated, complex, ambiguous, experimental. She is also a lot of things academic critics don’t trust: openly sexual, oblivious of convention, dreamy, ecstatic, wild beyond classification. As she says: ‘She disobeys injunctions against knowledge, for the severest education forces the initiate to reject the law.’ If you aren’t dubious about this book, you aren’t an academic. But if you don’t find something to love in it, you might consider discarding some of the books in your library and substituting this one.” — James Elkins, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
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Frueh’s performances are unabashedly autobiographical, as likely to reflect her scholarship as a feminist art historian as her love affairs or childhood memories. For Frueh, eros and self-love are part of a revolutionary feminist strategy; her work exemplifies the physicality and embrace of pleasure that she finds wanting in contemporary feminist theory. Scholarly and rigorous yet playful in tone, her performances are joyful, filled with eroticism, flowers, sexy costumes, and beautiful colors, textures, and scents. Recurring themes include Frueh’s passionate attachment to the desert landscape and the idea of transformation: a continual reaching for clarity of thought and feeling.
In an afterword as lyrical and breathless as her performance pieces, Frueh explores her identification with the desert and its influence on her art. Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert) includes a detailed chronology of Frueh’s performances.
Joanna Frueh is a performance artist, writer, scholar, and teacher. For more than twenty-five years, she has performed one-woman shows throughout the United States and abroad. She is Professor of the Practice of Art at the University of Arizona and Professor of Art History Emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure; Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love; Erotic Faculties; and Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective. She is a coeditor of Picturing the Modern Amazon; New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action; and Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology. Her art, essays, and criticism have appeared in many publications, including Art Journal, New Art Examiner, Art in America, Artforum, Hypatia, and High Performance. Frueh lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Jill O’Bryan is an independent scholar and artist. She is the author of Carnal Art: Orlan’s Refacing.
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