Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Untitled

Artist:
Francesca Woodman (American, Denver, Colorado 1958–1981 New York)
Date:
ca. 1980
Medium:
Diazotype
Dimensions:
Image: 187 x 93.4 cm (73 5/8 x 36 3/4 in.) Frame: 223.5 x 130.8 cm (88 x 51 1/2 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Herbert and Nannette Rothschild Fund Gift, in memory of Judith Rothschild, 1996
Accession Number:
1996.322
Rights and Reproduction:
© George and Betty Woodman
Not on view
Photography's role in the avant-garde expanded dramatically in the 1970s, with artists using the camera to document a wide array of performance-based work, in which the body was both subject and medium. This radical new art had an added force in the hands of women artists who, in reclaiming their bodies and, by extension, their identities as subject matter, revealed the essential link between the personal and the political. As a young student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Woodman also used herself as subject, merged with architectural elements in claustrophobic interiors or transfigured into natural forms such as trees. In these less explicitly political, more lyrical images, the artist, who took her own life at the age of twenty-three, charts almost diaristically the states of her soul and her quest for identity.


This late work is a unique, nearly lifesize print on architect's paper and was intended as a study for Woodman's "Temple Project," an unfinished installation planned for the Alternative Museum, New York City. Here, the artist poses as a monumental headless caryatid; other studies show this motif repeated as a frieze. Resurrected from stone like Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus," the colossal figure oscillates between the flesh and its sculpted surrogate. Woodman's fierce repossession of the female form from the arena of male ingenuity and desire is one of the most potent statements of her abbreviated career.

Artist; Joy Walker, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection V," June 4, 2002–December 29, 2002.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Francesca Woodman," November 5, 2011–February 19, 2012.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin: Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1996–1997 55, no. 2 (Fall 1997). p. 81.

Keller, Corey, ed. Francesca Woodman. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2011. no. 150, p. 129.



Related works are reproduced and discussed in Abigail Solomon-Godeau, "Francesca Woodman: Photographic Work" (Wellesley: 1986)
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