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Superconversations Day 2: Kate Steinmann responds to Martha Rosler, "The Art of Cooking: A Dialogue Between Julia Child & Craig Claiborne"


#1

RESPONDING TO: MARTHA ROSLER — THE ART OF COOKING: A DIALOGUE BETWEEN JULIA CHILD AND CRAIG CLAIBORNE /// BY KATE STEINMANN

The Feminist in the Kitchen: Martha Rosler’s Politics of Cookery

The Venice Biennale opens on the heels of two events that mark the stark polarizations of our moment: the Met Gala and the Baltimore riots. In this context, perhaps the week’s most apposite meme consists of juxtaposed images of despair and decadence, one a scene from the riots emblazoned with the caption DISTRICT 11 (referring to the impoverished home district of the Hunger Games’s heroic duo Katniss and Peeta), the other an image of a gold-crowned Rihanna decked out for the orientalist costume ball in a lurid, fur-trimmed, 55-pound yellow dress with a twelve-foot train, captioned MEANWHILE IN THE CAPITAL (referring to the authoritarian control center of the dystopia depicted in the film). If Suzanne Collins’s story remains in some sense an apt mirror for the social inequalities wrought by media-driven late neoliberal capitalism, it is surely because, more than ever today, as Mark Fisher puts it, we are “kept hooked first with media circuses, then, if they fail, they send in the stormtrooper cops.”

Whereas Rihanna’s dress inspired a spate of pizza and omelette memes, Martha Rosler’s 1975 “The Art of Cooking” intervenes in the politics of food more critically and provocatively. Rosler’s text takes the form of a mock dialogue between Craig Claiborne—a prominent New York Times food editor, writer, and restaurant critic—and the chef, writer, and television personality Julia Child, whose popular cooking show The French Chef by 1975 had completed its decade-long run (1963–73) and was beginning the regular reruns that would continue into the twenty-first century. Child wrote, taught, and performed for what she called “the servantless American cook,” arousing the culinary ambitions of middle-class American women, both capitalizing on and fostering their desire to become more perfect housewives and thereby confirming their role in the capitalist division of labor. The same year Rosler wrote her text, Claiborne gained notoriety for using a television charity auction “dinner for two” prize provided by American Express to stage a 31-course meal for himself and collaborator Pierre Franey at Paris’s Chez Denis for the price of $4,000; this extravagant stunt, which was widely received as an offensive self-indulgence in light of world hunger, scandalized New York Times readers and even drew criticism from Pope Paul VI.

Rosler’s fictional dialogue is built around quotations she drew from cookbooks of the era and fashioned into a wide-ranging discussion of taste in art and in cooking and the relationship of art—“high” and “low”—to life. Over the course of the conversation, Claiborne champions cooking as a “high art,” whereas Child propounds a somewhat more inclusive vision of cooking as an art of the commons, one created jointly by “peasants, fishermen, housewives, and princes” alike. Artistic “genius” is also a theme; discussing Marie-Antoine Carême, an early practitioner of French grande cuisine, Child and Claiborne describe his rags-to-riches ascent, extolling his artistry, “the grandeur of his character,” and his noble precarity: “Money meant nothing to him. His art alone was important.” Like a cheerful housewife, Child weathers Claiborne’s occasional bouts of mansplaining with good humor, and ultimately the two agree more often than they disagree. Child is able to conclude that “for us, art is somehow separate from and perhaps even above the rest of life”—an escapist fantasy that allows us to turn our attention away from the conditions of everyday life.

Rosler’s own work does the opposite, of course, as a political engagement that addresses not the magical power of the artist as creator but the conditions of power that affect all of us. Rosler wrote “The Art of Cooking” in the same year she made what would become one of the most important works of 1970s feminist art, Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975), a videotaped mock cooking demonstration in which, as she put it, “an anti-Julia Child replaces the domesticated ‘meaning’ of [kitchen] tools with a lexicon of rage and frustration.” Performing an alphabet of culinary utensils, Rosler criticizes popular television depictions of women in the kitchen, including the ideal housewife that Julia Child both helped create and built her career around. At the same time, Rosler intimates parallels between women’s art production and women’s food production, questioning the value assigned to both. In a video of the previous year, A Budding Gourmet (1974), Rosler explores food preparation as a means of self-definition and imperialism, particularly in relation to Western forays into non-Western cuisines; here, as in “The Art of Cooking,” pursuit of the “gourmet” lifestyle allows a middle class woman to accumulate cultural capital and express class distinctions. In a later video of the same period, The East Is Red, The West Is Bending (1977), Rosler extends her inquiry into middle class American appropriations of foreign cuisines, suggesting their roots in cultural imperialism.

What does it mean for e-flux journal to publish Rosler’s now-forty-year-old “Art of Cooking” as the first text in its special issue for All the World’s Futures? Rosler’s explorations of food and cooking as vehicles for the articulation of taste and class distinctions, as well as her evocations of the feminist revolt against maintenance and reproductive work, might make for an especially suitable opening at a Biennale in which Okwui Enwezor—recognizing that capital is on our minds more and more as it gradually asphyxiates us—has planned a live, nonstop reading of all four volumes of Marx’s Das Kapital (1867), to be followed by recitals of other works exploring capitalism. For as important as Marx’s magnum opus is to thinking through current conditions, Rosler’s work offers an important corrective, drawing our attention to feminism’s radical rethinking of Marxism. As Silvia Federici has shown us, Marxism has largely overlooked the significance of women’s rebellions against reproductive work in the post-World War II period, ignoring the gendered character of this work (including, literally, women’s labor) as well as the movement’s “practical redefinition of what constitutes work, who is the working class, and what is the nature of the class struggle”—in other words, its implications for everyone, not just for women.

Rosler’s dialogue feels contemporary in an environment characterized by increasing food inequality and economic inequality, where questions of the high and the low—the elite and the common, the upper classes and the lower classes, the 1% and the 99%—are of ever more urgent importance, as are questions of American cultural imperialism and militarism. Considered in the context of her related work of the mid-1970s, it is also resonant in a contemporary economic climate marked not just by gender inequality but by the feminization of labor, in which “affective labor,” precarious work, work for love, and work for free are routinely expected of many of us who operate as adjuncts, freelancers, unpaid interns, and underpaid or unwaged workers; alternatively, it could be seen as a historical anchor to what Nina Power calls the “laborization of women,” the processes according to which women today are often “cast as worker first and only secondarily as mother or wife, or any other identity position not linked with economic productivity.”

Rosler’s intervention into the politics of cookery extends and adds new dimension to her historically important body of gastropolitical work from the 1970s. How might it have acted then, and how does it act in the present?

Kate Steinmann is an editor at Fillip. She holds a Ph.D. in art his­tory from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.


#2

There is another dimension to culinary art which has less to do with humans: that of the demonic alchemy of material reanimation, As Reza Negarestani notes in Cyclonopedia (2008, p189):

In the Avestan language of the ancient Persia, the word ‘to create or give birth to’ as related to Ahriman is hav or frā.karet. The word hav simultaneously means carving, etching, cooking, boiling, sodomy, frying, mangling and grating; all making of Ahriman a culinary deity or a cook. And isn’t cooking the ultimate art of composing, blurring, alchemy, reinventing ingredients, sorcery, artificialization and puppetry of materials and products? For cookery, materialism and its pragmatics is a latching on to the demonopoly of matter. Cooks are criminal alchemists with occult tendencies. Ashemogha (the false mage, deceiver, imposter, quack), messenger of Ahriman, appears to Zahak, the king of Persia, as a cook who taints the vegetarian Zoroastrian cuisine with meat. As a culinary felon bent on defi ling the Persian diet, Ashemogha executes his scheme by secretly adding small quantities of meat to his meals and over time increasing the quantity of meat, then replacing it with human meat so as to get Zahak addicted. After ten years, Ashemogha fi nally comes up with a cuisine composed entirely of meat, to complete Zahak’s initiation into the carnivorous realms. As Ashemogha (the cook) kisses Zahak’s shoulders after his initiation (the Gift of Ahriman), two giant worms or snakes grow out of the kiss marks. The pain of the growing worms can only be alleviated by feeding them with human brains of both sexes. The demonic is only attainable by becoming-chef or by returning to the culinary aspects of matter.


#5

Laboria Cuboniks member / Xenofeminist thinker Helen Hester recently posed a question that seems highly relevant to reading the significance of Rosler & Steinmann here. In short, while there is a lot talk lately about a feminization of work, what about the critique of work itself, and what about the queer critique of how predefined gender categories write specific presuppositions into the phrase “feminization of work”?

In the following quote, Steinmann quotes Nina Power’s reversal of the terms, from, essentially, feminization of labor to laborization of women, in order to argue not only that everyone is being forced into holding a multitude of precarious labor positions, or an intensification of entirely unpaid, off-the-books labor, but also that women specifically, are being forced to put the multitude of precarious labor positions first, over and above any other concerns or positionalities. The old middle class (and above) position of the housewife then, still remains a domain of non-remuneration regardless of marital status, but a kind of “speed-up” is being imposed as well, on top of it, as what the NY Times has called the “formerly middle class” continues its state of free-fall, following post-2007/8 precarization.

Is it really the case then, that, as many critiques have held, work is becoming a welcomed break from house-bound labor, or are Steinmann/Power correct that this is really an intensification of the same logic of work? Further, as Steinmann raises as well, what might the relationship of gastronomy, gender and sexuality be in a world removed from these enforced presuppositions, and how does Rosler help or hinder such becomings?

Rosler’s explorations of food and cooking as vehicles for the articulation of taste and class distinctions, as well as her evocations of the feminist revolt against maintenance and reproductive work, might make for an especially suitable opening at a Biennale in which Okwui Enwezor—recognizing that capital is on our minds more and more as it gradually asphyxiates us—has planned a live, nonstop reading of all four volumes of Marx’s Das Kapital (1867), to be followed by recitals of other works exploring capitalism. For as important as Marx’s magnum opus is to thinking through current conditions, Rosler’s work offers an important corrective, drawing our attention to feminism’s radical rethinking of Marxism. As Silvia Federici has shown us, Marxism has largely overlooked the significance of women’s rebellions against reproductive work in the post-World War II period, ignoring the gendered character of this work (including, literally, women’s labor) as well as the movement’s “practical redefinition of what constitutes work, who is the working class, and what is the nature of the class struggle”—in other words, its implications for everyone, not just for women… Considered in the context of her related work of the mid-1970s, it is also resonant in a contemporary economic climate marked not just by gender inequality but by the feminization of labor, in which “affective labor,” precarious work, work for love, and work for free are routinely expected of many of us who operate as adjuncts, freelancers, unpaid interns, and underpaid or unwaged workers; alternatively, it could be seen as a historical anchor to what Nina Power calls the “laborization of women,” the processes according to which women today are often “cast as worker first and only secondarily as mother or wife, or any other identity position not linked with economic productivity." Rosler’s intervention into the politics of cookery extends and adds new dimension to her historically important body of gastropolitical work from the 1970s. How might it have acted then, and how does it act in the present?"


#6

Very interesting article Kate! It might be useful to examine not only the content of Rosler’s work in the present but the present environment in which art inhabits. There exists a dangerous myth among artist that conditions have improved for women artists since the 70’s. Currently women represent 21 percent of showing artists in New York, a three percent decline since the nineties.(Ben Davis, Theses on Art and Class, 2013) Perhaps we might be forced to consider the arena of the art world as a political impotent space. How effective can a political work be within a hyper speculative money driven art world? Here are Andrea Fraser’s words on the matter from her 2012 essay “There’s No Place Like Home”. ‘I have ascribed to institutional critique the role of judging the institution of art against the critical claims of its legitimizing discourses, its self-representation as a site of contestation and its narratives of radicality and revolution. The glaring, persistent, and seemingly ever-growing disjunction between those legitimizing discourses— above all in their critical and political claims—and the social conditions of art generally, as well as of my own work specifically, has appeared to me as profoundly and painfully contradictory, even as fraudulent. Increasingly, I have turned to sociology, psychoanalysis, and economic research, rather than to art and cultural theory, to understand and work through these contradictions. Nevertheless, it has gotten to the point that most forms of engagement with the art world have become so fraught with conflict for me that they are almost unbearable, even as I struggle to find ways to continue to participate.’


#7

From what I can glean from Rosler’s videos, they represent a comic detournement of the cooking show format, one that aims to standardize the role of the nurturer as artiste. At the time she produced these the cooking show phenomenon was still in a fairly primitive stage. Julia Child had transformed the “high art” of continental cooking to a “low art” in the egalitarian media of television in the 1960’s and by the mid 1970’s when Rosler’s videos were produced Child had become an mediated institution, primarily for the so- called stay at home housewives demographic. This demographic standardization was wearing very thin at this time and this is where Rosler’s intervention as farce becomes effective as feminist critic of that standard. Today the proliferation of marginally differentiated cooking shows, whether haute or low niche, is an ample register of a richer society in general. Interestingly the egalitarian aspect pioneered by Child is retained in order to capture the widest possible demographic for ratings. The contemporary cooking show phenomenon therefore represents a “deterritorialization” of the repressed nurturing class: a liberation of sorts from that categorical imperative in order to enslave the very notion of nurturance in a representative,performative function of abstract nuturance as commodity fetish. These contemporary cooking shows often feature male practitioners. This represents a transferrence of the cliche of the female nurturer role onto the cliche of the male provider role thereby conflating the “household” into an idealization of an asexual , perfect dinner guest. The price for a seat at this virtual table ( in an acceleration of nuturance past gendered roles) is turning a blind eye to both the retrenchment of traditional gender roles in political discourse and the fallacy that haute gravy raises all boats. Rosler’s videos may seem quaint in this context, but perhaps their unsophisticated affect can offer a weakly- signaling feminism , a kind of low- frequency wave that can cut through the multiple-coursing hyper capitalism in which we currently “graze”.


#8

Great that Kate reminds us of the feminist critique of Marx for overlooking the massive debt that capitalism owes to unpaid maintenance labor (typically women’s), and reproductive labor (pretty much always women’s). What would it mean to look away from the pantry and into the nursery? What would a semiotics of the crib look like? The art of child care? What would be the effect of introducing universal basic income and artificial wombs?


#9

As a big fan of both Martha Rosler (big fan!) and Julia Child (my Mother met her a few times), I was intrigued by this intervention, and think its time to re-visit the issues raised by Rosler. Where I think labor fits into this requires a glance at how poor renumeration for gendered positions (putting the “housewife” aside for a second), needs to be rethought 1. as at least some gender boundaries become blurred by the piecework and adjuncting of the American workforce. And 2. At what point does the largely middle class interest in feminism become united, by labor, with race: to rework Orange is the New Black…Is a lecturer in higher education (for one example) the new sharcropper? Addressing housewivery, the house-husband/stay-at-home Dad seems to fit into this blurring as well. At what point does feminism become redefined as class?


#10

Reminds me a bit of Georgina in Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.


#11

It’s almost as if capitalism / academia said: “fine, you protest, occupied, demanded - we’ll go ahead and let you into the arts/humanities schools, etc. But now, having had the gates opened is going to mean essentially nothing economically-speaking or otherwise”. Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome in other words, which in our moralist / Protestant culture essentially means that it’s a matter uneven capacity or personal irresponsbility, etc. This is also one version of the feminization of labor line in a way, only going further and claiming this is actually the case across the board, including class, race, etc., in which all are “feminized”, or “stiffed”, in Susan Faludi’s terms. Steinmann / Power’s reproach brings the specificity back in even without denying that there is some general truth to that, from what I gather. What then though, are the potent spaces, and are there ways in which rather than the impotent art world being the space for art, the more potent spaces (whatever they might be) can become spaces for it in heretofore unprecedented ways?


#12

Thanks, aisling_hamrogue. I too am interested in the question of the representation of women artists, and I was tempted to do a statistical analysis of the list of artists from this year’s Biennale according to gender, but I didn’t have time. Your question concerning how effective politically directed art can possibly be within a hyper-speculative, financialized art world is certainly well taken. And I agree with Fraser that the contradictions here are often painful and can even point to a kind of fraud. Even if we can argue for art’s impotence, though, I think some art is capable of evading outright fraudulence—after all, Fraser herself is an artist, and she is one of many artists with a political consciousness who turn to political and economic theory, sociology, psychoanalysis, etc. to try to think such matters through, bringing those discourses into art.


#13

Good point Martin. The deterritorialization of gendered roles implies the recolonization of a servile class that constitutes the expanded range of the precariat. At the same time there is a shrill ramping up of conservative rhetoric and policy aimed at dismantling the gains of feminism (and human rights in general) of the last 50 years. The economic and identity constraints that the precariat labors under hampers its ability to organize as a class since it is effectively “beyond class”. Representative gestures like the marathon reading of Marx at the fairly exclusive venue of the Venice Biennale are at best a nostalgia for the more clearly defined class struggles of the 20th century and at worst a banal aesthetics of the political ( a farce would be better) falling on unemancipated spectators.


#14

Fascinating analysis, Tom McGlynn. The dynamic of the male “celebrity chef” vs the female home cook is an interesting one to consider, and the Claiborne-Child interaction does not necessarily divide itself along obvious lines here, given that Child can be seen as having had many prototypically “masculine” qualities (Claiborne’s paternalistic condescensions aside: “My dear, I’m making a point. . . . Forgive me for observing that you ladies are too accepting, not rigorous enough in what you allow as art."). It would also be interesting to consider the cooking show form in light of Bourdieu’s food space, looking at its class-defining and subjectivizing functions—how it teaches its audiences to cultivate themselves as self-expressive individuals with discrete preferences and tastes. If they were around today, Julia Child and Craig Claiborne no doubt would have been very into organic seasonal cooking, heirloom vegetables, locavorism, and so on, all of which are obvious class markers. Whereas today, parakeet-killing Teflon and electric ranges are passé among “foodies," if you watch The French Chef, you can see that Child uses both to cook her famous omelettes—really striking.


#15

I agree that the question of food production and the ethics of eating articulate Rosler’s moment with our own in several compelling ways. Reading these two pieces, together, however I am struck by the focus on the meaning of food, its modes of production, and systems of distribution. These are important, of course. But what distinguishes our moment from Rosler’s, it seems to me, is the uncertainty that the agricultural systems that underlie food production will be sustainable even in the very short-term. I’m thinking here of the extended California draught as a synecdoche for broader environmental shifts. These are crucially connected to reproduction through the shared assumption that human reproductive labor, domestic labor, animal labor, and what we might think of as the labor of ecological actants are endlessly renewed gifts that can be left out of economic calculations.


#16

Steinmann’s article makes some really interesting points, raising questions that are both timely and nostalgic. I liked thinking about the different connections and networks evoked by it.

As I read excerpts of Rosler’s “The Art of Cooking”, I couldn’t help thinking of both the famous 18th Century Spectator essays of Addison on Taste and the 21st Century film “Julie & Julia” that chronicled Julie Powell’s memoir on cooking the recipes in Julia Child’s famous cookbook. That the reader must measure up to the author (Addison’s assertion), instead of the other way around, seems an almost archaic concept in our world, one so quickly moderated by hashtagged snark and the guerrilla jabs of keyboard warriors whose criticisms often exceed their wit. And, yet, the aforementioned film features a particularly contemporary heroine who seeks to gain validation through a linking of herself to an established, traditional notion of taste by duplicating, rather than re-imagining, a kind of taste that has been historically valued. Both of these ideas come to mind as I read a dialogue between a fictional Child and Claiborne, hashing out ideas of taste and taste. The dual concept of “taste” and its relationship to privilege is inescapable, in the text itself and in the modern world. Does the notion of “progress” and change fit into the discussion?

There’s something interesting about the ways in which ideas about cuisine have the power to uplift, but also to ground, and it isn’t surprising that ideas about high and low art are pushed up against ideas about vulgarity and elitism in Rosler’s text, making even more resonant the Beauty and the Beast image among the Rihanna pizza and omelette memes mentioned by Steinmann. In some ways, the Rosler text brings up the idea of where the woman “rightly” belongs in relation to labor, and to art, as well. Does the woman “belong” in the kitchen? If she is in the kitchen, can we still call the thing she is doing art, or has it become a kind of kitsch? Can she choose to occupy the domestic sphere without relinquishing power? How does that now relate to our attitudes about watching contemporary shows on cookery and cuisine? Can we call the thing art if we talk about weird foods among men, while we consider the thing a domestic shortcut when we talk about entertaining our families at the dinner table among women? Do we value the artistic merit of Gordon Ramsey and Rachel Ray equally, and how much does gender factor into the value we ascribe? Does Belle only get to have the power of being with a Prince instead of a Beast once she has mastered the domestic sphere of talking utensils and home goods? Does her love of libraries enter into the conversation with the same valence? I don’t think it really matters if we answer the questions. I don’t think that artistry is at the heart of the discussion around Julia Child’s appeal, nor is it at the heart of the discussion about Rihanna’s wardrobe, or even that of the author whose work is being consumed by Addison’s imagined reader in order to gain or become worthy of some value. I do think all of these have something to do with how we think about taste. Steinman’s observations invite us to investigate the connection between taste, value, power, and privilege – as well as the expense of such ideas. I agree with the distinctions that she has made, here, as she says, “Rosler’s own work does the opposite, of course, as a political engagement that addresses not the magical power of the artist as creator but the conditions of power that affect all of us”. The politics of the domestic space and those of the artistic space are both called into question, especially as we think about the feminization of labor. The power to determine what “Taste” is and isn’t, what has value and what doesn’t, hasn’t really been feminized alongside the labor.

I’m interested to see how our ideas about cuisine, capital, gender, labor and art today intersect with those of Rosler’s arguments, something which the e-flux publication of the text in the context of world futures asks us to consider. And, I have to admit that I’m really enjoying the direction that the conversation seems to be taking in the comments!


#17

Cooking as "giving birth,” cook as sorcerer, mother as criminal alchemist—fantastic images.


#18

The link to environmental shifts is a significant one Rebekah. There seems an unspoken rush at almost all levels of the constantly metastasizing food fetish that anticipates future scarcity- almost as a lark to devour all of the canaries before they can even get to the coal mine.


#19

Great points, Percepticon. Thanks for directing me to Hester’s incisive questions. Predefined gender categories certainly do inform the notion of the "feminization of work”; I tend to think of this mostly as a useful rhetorical strategy, although it’s clearly important to be conscious of the constructed nature of such categories. The critique of work itself is hugely relevant, I agree. So too, I think, is Federici’s point that in a hypothetical new and improved future there would still be plenty of work; thus such a future would be one not of no more work (handy, work-saving robots notwithstanding) but (ideally anyway) of profound transformations in our relationship to work.


#20

UBI and artificial wombs FTW. For the semiotics of the crib, perhaps a Kleinian abecedarium? A is for Attack . . . D is for Death drive . . . E is for Envy . . . G is for Good object . . . I is for Introjection . . . T is for Toilet breast. . . .


#21

I’m enjoying this discussion on feminism and labor, but I think we may have overlooked a major component of this being Supercommunity’s first text (though I think the Met Gala reference is nearly as significant and potentially in the same direction).

I just finished reading Kevin McGarry’s review of “All the World’s Futures” at the 56th Venice Biennale, which e-flux sent to me roughly 12 hours after they sent me Rosler’s piece for Day 2 of the project (is that what we are calling it…a project? Is it even the right pronoun?). You can read the review here: http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/all-the-worlds-futures/.

McGarry says, “And while Venice is the most expansive international exhibition in the world of contemporary art, this year it is dwarfed by an analogously outmoded, nation-obsessed spectacle taking place only two hours west: Expo Milano 2015.” The theme of Expo Milano is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and as McGarry mentions, “It’s all about food, its culinary varieties and geopolitical complexities.” From what McGarry says, “Consumption is in the air” from Milan to Giardini. The Biennale itself seems to even respond to this absurd context with the inclusion of Nauman’s Eat/Death, 1972 in the Arsenale, as McGarry mentions. I’m not sure if this is a cute nod to the pairing of spectacular global art events, or a sincere gesture of confrontation.

It seems that @Kate_Kate 's analysis of Rosler’s work may be most fitting to begin to discuss the importance of this piece in the context of Supercommunity and the Biennale.

Rosler’s piece as the first text released for/to the Supercommunity seems to suggest that e-flux is foregrounding “the conditions of power that affect all of us,” directly referencing the non-stop global displays of capital both inside and outside of the artworld.

Perhaps Rosler’s piece / e-flux’s gesture is a solution to the issue of art’s inadequacy that @DADABASE mentioned in the opening conversation:

So although we may want to discuss feminism, labor, and art; I’m also interested in the Rosler piece as participation in the much broader discussion of art’s collusion with global capital. And this point is only revealed when we examine the recontextualization / curation of this 40 year old artwork.

Smart move Supercommunity!


#22

Saba Razvi, thank you for your very thoughtful and suggestive commentary. Your point that the power to determine taste and value hasn’t been feminized alongside the labor is brilliant, and I do think that our perceptions of what counts as “art” all too often tend to be strongly influenced by the gender identities involved. I also love this: "That the reader must measure up to the author (Addison’s assertion), instead of the other way around, seems an almost archaic concept in our world, one so quickly moderated by hashtagged snark and the guerrilla jabs of keyboard warriors whose criticisms often exceed their wit.” An eye-opening observation (not to mention wonderful phrasing). Julie Powell’s quest indeed emerges as an oddly old-fashioned one.

I don’t know Addison but am now eager to look for this work…