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Justine Kurland: “From Girl Pictures to SCUMB Manifesto: A Retrospective of Photo Work”

Thursday, January 27 at 4:00pm

Virtual Event

University of Oregon Winter 2022 Visiting Artist Lecture Series

Presented by the Department of Art and Center for Art Research

In 1967 the radical feminist and writer Valerie Solanas sold copies of her newly authored SCUM Manifesto on the streets of New York’s Greenwich Village, charging $1 ($2 if the buyer was a man). It opens with an incisive description of her project: “[. . .] SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men), which will eliminate through sabotage all aspects of society not relevant to women (everything), bring about a complete female take-over, eliminate the male sex and begin to create a swinging, groovy, out-of-sight female world.”

This lecture will follow the trajectory of Justine Kurland’s photography ending with her new collage work, SCUMB Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men’s Books). These object-based, tactile continue themes explored in her earliest body of work, Girl Pictures (1997–2002), and again in Mama Babies (2004–07). Seeking and picturing freedom, imagining a matriarchal paradise is at the core of much of Kurland’s work.  It is located here in the artistic act itself: the nature of collage—heterogeneous, pulled apart, shape shifting, disrupted, cyborg, fantasy—has long made it a feminist strategy in life and in art.

Justine Kurland, known for her utopian photographs of American landscapes and their fringe communities, has spent the better part of the last twenty years on the road. In her recent work, Kurland cuts and collages the pages of photography books in her personal library authored by canonized white men. These tactile objects are a continuation of Kurland’s ongoing project of creating space for women. Kurland (born in Warsaw, New York, 1969) received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts and her MFA from Yale University. Her work is in the public collections of institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and International Center of Photography, among others.

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