Excerpts from the artist’s novels as well as insightful texts by Anselm Franke and Benoît Maire are juxtaposed with 475 documentary photographs of Pulfer’s technical drawings, one-off exhibitions, large-scale installations, and performances.
Chapter 4, "Exceeding the Frame," takes an interesting turn away from recent art to Diane Arbus's photographs from the 1960s to early 1970s, and away from disabled people per se to "idiosyncratic masses masquerading and parading indiscretion" (Millett-Gallant, p. 113), including carnival workers (e.g., little people, side show "freaks"), transvestites, bodybuilders, identical twins, and nudists. Millett-Gallant responds to David Hevey's (1992) criticism that Arbus "enfreak[s]" disabled people by representing them as outcasts, and to the widespread assertion that Arbus was interested in outcasts because of her own social difficulties and chronic depression. Attending to contextual aspects of the gaze, Millett-Gallant argues that "Arbus's images are anything but one-dimensionally objectifying" (p. 139), concluding that "Arbus's images … point to the very irony of the gaze itself — we look at the other in attempts to see ourselves more clearly" (p. 139). Chapter 4 works to cement the book's thesis that disabled subjects in contemporary art invite and return the gaze, thus creating a dialogic exchange. Perhaps where Hevey interprets Arbus as enfreaking disability in this vein, others could interpret Hevey as disabling Arbus and her sitters. The uncertainty that this disagreement raises reflects Millett-Gallant's own experience of the gaze/stare regarding certain bodily features that clearly qualify as impairments and others that may be regarded as simply atypical. Millet-Gallant describes this in detail through a close reading of Frida Kahlo's self-portrait, Remembrance of an Open Wound (1938), as an expression of the intersectionality between sexuality, race, gender, and disability. Here, Millett-Gallant (perhaps inadvertently) exposes the impossibility of accurately representing disability due to its diverse appearances and categorizations. However, the retreat from current art to art that predates disability studies, pointing back to Kahlo's 1930s work, seems to work against the notion that contemporary art is a progression beyond the rigid ideals of modernism.
Course Descriptions | Emerson College
This course provides art majors the opportunity to explore the historic perspectives, cultural relevance and technical aspects of graphic and design issues within the context of the contemporary profession of design. Study of historic print production processes will include printmaking and photography. Pre-requisites: ART 1006, 1007, 2201, Permission of Instructor. $75.00 lab fee request.