Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, and Cindy Sherman were born in differentcountries, in different generations;Cahun in France in 1894, Deren inRussia in 1917, and Sherman in the United States in 1954. Yet theyshare a deeply theatrical obsession that shatters any notion of aunified self. All three try out identities from different socialclasses and geographic environments, extend their temporal range intothe past and future, and transform themselves into heroes andvillains, mythological creatures, and sex goddesses. The premise ofInverted Odysseys is that this expanded concept of theself;this playful urge to "try on" other roles-is more than afeminist or psychological issue. It is central to our global culture,to our definition of human identity in a world where the individualexists in a multicultural and multitemporal environment. This book isan "odyssey" through historical, theoretical, critical, and literaryperspectives on the three artists viewed in the context of theseissues. Contributors include Lynn Gumpert, Lucy Lippard, Jonas Mekas,Ted Mooney, Shelley Rice, and Abigail Solomon-Godeau.Central to the book is Claude Cahun's "Heroines" manuscript, a seriesof fifteen stream-of-consciousness monologues written in the voices ofmajor women of literature and history, such as the Virgin Mary,Sappho, Cinderella, Penelope, Delilah, and Helen of Troy.
Translatedby Norman MacAfee, these perverse and hilarious vignettes make theirEnglish-language debut here. This is also the first time that Cahun'stext has appeared in its entirety.The book accompanies an exhibit cocurated by Lynn Gumpert and ShelleyRice at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University.Published in cooperation with the Grey Art Gallery, New YorkUniversity.EXHIBITION SCHEDULE:Grey Art GalleryNew York, New YorkNovember 16, 1999 - January 29, 2000Museum of Contemporary ArtNorth Miami, FloridaMarch - May 2000