Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface

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Oxford University Press, Dec 10, 2010 - Social Science - 256 pages
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Through the figure of Josephine Baker, Second Skin tells the story of an unexpected yet enduring intimacy between the invention of a modernist style and the theatricalization of black skin at the turn of the twentieth century. Stepping outside of the platitudes surrounding this iconic figure, Anne A. Cheng argues that Baker's famous nakedness must be understood within larger philosophic and aesthetic debates about, and desire for, 'pure surface' that crystallized at the convergence of modern art, architecture, machinery, and philosophy. Through Cheng's analysis, Baker emerges as a central artist whose work engages with and impacts various modes of modernist display such as film, photography, art, and even the modern house.
 

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I still think about this book. It's riveting, beautiful, and an inspiring book.

Contents

1 Her Own Skin
1
2 In the Museum
17
3 Skins Tattoos and the Lure of the Surface
23
4 What Bananas Say
35
5 Housing Baker Dressing Loos
49
6 Radiant Bodies Dark Cities
83
7 The Woman with the Golden Skin
101
8 All That Glitters Is Not Gold or Dirty Professors
133
9 Ethical Looking
165
10 Back to the Museum
173
List of Illustrations
179
Notes
183
Works Cited
211
Index
223
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Anne Anlin Cheng is Professor of English and African American Literature at Princeton University and the author of The Melancholy of Race: Assimilation, Psychoanalysis, and Hidden Grief.

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