An ambitious but overly broad approach to an intriguing set of artistic disciplines.

UNRAVELLING WOMEN'S ART

A survey of the history of women in the textile arts.

Henderson, an art historian who previously wrote a case study in Feminism and Museums: Intervention, Disruption, and Change (2017)and co-authored Great Women Artists(2019),presents readers with a wide-ranging cataloglike survey of women’s work in the textile arts. She starts with a historical survey of textile work from a cross-cultural perspective, beginning with the shift in the perception of embroidery as a domestic activity to a professionalized art. From there, she provides a sweeping look at the many forms and uses of fabric-based art, with chapters on such themes as recycling/upcycling, fashion, and politics, and a significant emphasis on the art’s use in protest and its role in marginalized cultures. Other chapters include interviews with specific artists in the field. Appropriately, the book is full of color and black-and-white photos of the textiles surveyed, from various sources. Henderson’s work looks at a broad swath of societies and traditions related to traditional and nontraditional uses of this highly specific art form, and mostly does a good job placing examples in their historical contexts. Still, there are noticeable omissions; for example, there’s no mention of Jewish textiles, aside from a couple of paragraphs related to the Holocaust and a brief acknowledgement of the “Russian Jewish heritage” of a contemporary textile artist. It also doesn’t address Yemenite Jewish embroidery, which would have had import when talking about the significance of textiles to marginalized groups. Also, its definition of textile arts is so broad, even encompassing cloth-based sculpture, that the focus is not always clear. Still, this book is likely to accomplish its purpose of getting more readers to take textiles seriously as a form of expression.

An ambitious but overly broad approach to an intriguing set of artistic disciplines.

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-913641-15-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Supernova Books

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2022

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A cogent “horror story” about the plot to reanimate mid-20th-century White male supremacy at the expense of abortion access.

THE LIE THAT BINDS

Incisive look at the destructive path of anti-abortion ideology in the U.S.

Even though most Americans believe in a woman’s right to choose—“consistent research has shown that more than 7 in 10 Americans support legal access to abortion”—the radical right has succeeded in steadily eroding reproductive freedoms since Roe v. Wade. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America leaders Hogue and Langford, the campaign against abortion is but a means to an end for the architects of the pro-life movement. Their true aim is the uncontested dominion of White Christian men. The battle began in 1954, when Brown v. Board of Education struck down “state laws used by segregationists to maintain structural inequality in the nation’s schools.” In 1976, the IRS rescinded the tax-exempt status of the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s segregationist Bob Jones University. What has followed, argue the authors convincingly, is more than a half-century of machinations designed “to halt progressive cultural change and maintain power for a privileged minority.” Anti-abortion rhetoric is just a weapon, driven by design, propaganda, disinformation, and cowed Republican politicians—hallmarks of the Trump era. Hogue and Langdon make a strong case that the rises of Trump, fake news, and science skepticism are not flukes but rather the culmination of a dogged campaign by forces still smarting from desegregation and second- and third-wave feminism. The reproductive freedom of American women is the victim of an “anti-democratic power grab on a historic scale.” The authors build a chilling case that the startling 2019 wave of abortion bans across the nation should serve as a canary in the coal mine for citizens concerned with democracy and a catalyst for bolder messaging, better strategic planning, and sustained action to combat disinformation.

A cogent “horror story” about the plot to reanimate mid-20th-century White male supremacy at the expense of abortion access.

Pub Date: July 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947492-50-9

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Strong Arm Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2020

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