Into Me/out of Me

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Klaus Biesenbach
Distributed Art Pub Incorporated, 2007 - Art - 580 pages
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Editor and P.S. 1/MoMA curator Klaus Biesenbach credits the late Susan Sontag with sparking the idea for this survey of Body and Action art in the course of their conversations about artistic approaches that describe and question the human condition. "Into Me / Out of Me" gathers work focused on the imagined, descriptive and performative acts of passing into, through and out of the human body--explorations and visualizations of the wet and the dry, the inner and the outer--and the physical exchange of the body with the material world. Spanning over 40 years and featuring an international group of more than 130 artists, it addresses the primordial relationship between the internal and the external in three chapters: "Metabolism" (eating, drinking, excreting); "Reproduction" (intercourse, conception, birth); and "Violence" (shooting, impaling, perforation). Featured works range from Hannah Wilke's unflinching self-portraits in illness to Matthew Barney's performance-based installations to Kara Walker's antebellum figures. Artists include Chris Burden, Valerie Export, Bruce Nauman, Carolee Schneemann, Kiki Smith, Andy Warhol, Vito Acconci, Patty Chang, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Douglas Gordon, Mona Hatoum, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ana Mendieta, Paul McCarthy, John Miller, Frank Moore, Carolee Schneemann, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Marina Abramovic, among many others.

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About the author (2007)

Klaus Biesenbach is Chief Curator in The Museum of Modern Art, New York's Department of Media.

Georges Bataille was a French poet, novelist, and philosopher. He was born in Billon, Puy-de-Dome, in central France on September 10, 1897. His father was already blind and paralyzed from syphilis when Bataille was born. In 1915, Bataille's father died, his mind destroyed by his illness. The death marked his son for life. While working at the Bibliotheque National in Paris during the 1920s, Bataille underwent psychoanalysis and became involved with some of the intellectuals in the Surrealist movement, from whom he learned the concept of incongruous imagery in art. In 1946 he founded the journal Critique, which published the early work of some of his contemporaries in French intellectual life, including Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida. Bataille believed that in the darkest moments of human existence-in orgiastic sex and terrible death-lay ultimate reality. By observing them and even by experiencing them, actually in sex and vicariously in death, he felt that one could come as close as possible to fully experiencing life in all its dimensions. Bataille's works include The Naked Beast at Heaven's Gate (1956), A Tale of Satisfied Desire (1953), Death and Sensuality: A Study of Eroticism and the Taboo (1962), and The Birth of Art: Prehistoric Painting (1955). Bataille died in Paris on July 8, 1962.

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