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Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Vanessa Place’s arresting poetic imagination always makes it genuinely New! This, her latest “Book of Surprises” will make you laugh, weep, nod in agreement (or disbelief), but, most of all, it will make you THINK. —Marjorie Perloff
As if one of Barnett Newman’s zip paintings had been vandalized, cut open along the vertical run of the canvas, Vanessa Place’s Boycott Projects (2013) is a work of art rendered through mutilation. A literal slit, an invitation to enter, serves as cover art for this collection of canonical feminist texts. But Place has redacted other evidence of the feminine, replacing all feminine pronouns and gendered terms with their masculine equivalents. What is remaindered is damaged, like the work’s cover, a violence made visible through excision. —Andrea Andersson [Wall text for Boycott]
In 1971, American conceptual artist Lee Lozano began her Boycott Piece, refusing to speak to women as a protest against patriarchy; in 1975, French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan stated, “La femme n’existe pas” to note the failure of the symbolic order. Vanessa Place’s Boycott Project (of which Boycott is part) takes iconic feminist texts and eliminates all reference to women and that which is exclusively female. For only through the sex that is one can one fully grasp the truth that one is not born, but rather becomes, one—l’on qui ne s’existe pas.
I shall speak about men’s writing: about what it will do. Man must write his self: must write about men and bring men to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies—for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Man must put himself into the text—as into the world and into history—by his own movement.
…I write this as a man, toward men.
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Vanessa Place was the first poet to perform as part of the Whitney Biennial; a content advisory was posted.