Claudia has developed a highly personal vocabulary of symbols that enables her to explore her ideas about womanhood with subtlety and precision . . . She has continually inspired me and others to seek out new forms, to address realities others would suppress, to be involved and engaged with society, and to find beauty in humble aspects of life. —Agnes Gund, President Emerita, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Flipping through the pages of Claudia DeMonte, one is treated to the wide range of individual pieces that make up Ms. DeMonte's career, pieces that are woven together with the themes she has embraced and nurtured since the 1970s: exploration of her work as a portal to both herself and other women, global travel and its potent impact on art, and the redrafting of art history with the female point of view in mind. —The Litchfield County Times Monthly
Claudia DeMonte is an artist, a teacher, a curator, and a collector. She has given each of these simultaneous careers her unfailing attention throughout her adult life. To say she is accomplished in each field is an understatement; in fact, she has excelled in all and has managed to break new ground in each. She's a pioneer, a feminist, an acute observer, and an advocate for the overlooked.
This monograph of her career as an artist begins with her self-image works of the 1970s--photo-essays, installations, T-shirts--followed by her painted pulp paper sculptures, works in clay, and paintings and her Female Fetish series (pewter milagros nailed onto wooden objects), fabric pieces and installations, drawings, and bronzes. The array of media she uses is not only eclectic; it's highly unusual. But DeMonte has never hesitated to jump in and use whatever feels right.
In each stage of her career, with each medium, she has combined sobering commentary on the status of women in the world with lighthearted humor. A paper sculpture might seem both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. An exquisitely beautiful bronze bowl will exude the power of a sacred object, with women poised at its edges not in the form of traditional goddesses but instead as ponytailed "everywomen." Her installations examining questions such as "What is real beauty?" are joyful in their inclusion of images from all over the world, while they force us to confront our own misconceptions of global culture.
With approximately 120 reproductions, a foreword by Agnes Gund, and an essay by Eleanor Heartney, this is the first retrospective of Claudia DeMonte's work, a long overdue review of one of America's most intriguing contemporary artists.
About the Authors
ELEANOR HEARTNEY is a contributing editor to Art in America and Artpress and author of numerous articles and books on contemporary art. She received the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism in 1992 and was honored by the French government as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2008. She is co-author of After the Revolution: Women who Transformed Contemporary Art (Prestel Publishing, 2007). Other books include Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads (Cambridge University Press, 1997), Postmodernism (Tate Gallery Publishers, 2001), Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art (Midmarch Arts Press, 2004), Defending Complexity: Art, Politics and the New World Order (Hard Press Editions, 2006), and Art and Today (Phaidon, 2008).
AGNES GUND is president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art and chairman of its International Council. She joined MoMA’s board in 1976 and served as president from 1991 until 2002. Ms. Gund is chairman of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission for New York City. She is the founder and a trustee of the Studio in a School Association and currently serves on the boards of The Frick Collection, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, and Socrates Sculpture Park, among others. She earned a BA in history from Connecticut College and an MA in art history from Harvard University.
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