Nancy Princenthal: Unspeakable Acts (w/ Johanna Fateman)

Monday October 21: 7:30PM 8:30PM

Buy a copy of Unspeakable Acts or a $15 gift card in-store to attend. This event will take place in the 2nd floor photography section of the Strand's main store at 828 Broadway (at 12th Street).

Doors open 30 minutes before showtime.

“If we are going to talk about sexual violence, we will have to come to terms with what it is. That is harder than it seems, acts of gendered aggression range from workplace coercion and everyday harassment to vicious and even fatal physical attacks by intimates and strangers.…Tricky to define, sexual offenses are even more difficult to depict.… The pioneering women artists who explored sexual violence in the seventies had a wide-open arena, and plenty to say.” Princenthal writes on the opening page of Unspeakable Acts. On the 2nd Floor, Nancy Princenthal will be discussing her newest book, Unspeakable Acts. Joining Nancy Pricenthal in conversation will be writer and musician, Johanna Fateman.

The 1970s were a time of deep divisions and newfound freedoms. A new generation put their bodies on the line to protest injustice, galvanized by The Second Sex and The Feminine Mystique, the civil rights movement, and the March on Washington. Fired up by women’s experiences and the climate of revolution, bold women artists and activists, including Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, Marina Abramovic, Adrian Piper, Suzanne Lacy, Nancy Spero, and Jenny Holzer, started a conversation about sexual violence that continues to this day.

Some of them worked unannounced and unheralded, using the street as their theater. Others managed to draw support from the highest levels of municipal power. Along the way, they changed the course of art, pioneering a form that came to be called, simply, performance.

In Unspeakable Acts, Princenthal takes on these enduring issues and weaves together a new history of art and performance, challenging readers to reexamine the relationship between activism and art, and how the lessons of that turbulent era can be applied today.

Nancy Princenthal is a Brooklyn-based writer whose book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art (Thames and Hudson, 2015) received the 2016 PEN America award for biography. A former Senior Editor of Art in America, she has also contributed to Artforum, Parkett, The Village Voice, and The New York Times. Princenthal is the author of Hannah Wilke (Prestel, 2010), and a co-author of two recent books on women artists. Her essays have appeared in monographs on Shirin Neshat, Doris Salcedo, Robert Mangold and Alfredo Jaar, among many others. She has taught at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; Princeton University; and Yale University, and is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.







Johanna Fateman writes regularly for The New Yorker, Artforum, and 4Columns. She is co-editor of Last Days at Hot Slit: the Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin published by semiotext(e) in 2019.