Cover image for Inverted odysseys : Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, and Cindy Sherman
Inverted odysseys : Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, and Cindy Sherman
Rice, Shelley.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xi, 168 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
General Note:
Title page contains miror image title.

Published in conjunction with an exhibition held at the New York University Grey Art Gallery, Nov. 1999-Jan. 2000 and the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Spring, 2000.
Inverted odysseys / by Shelley Rice -- Scattering selves / by Lucy R. Lippard -- Claude Cahun's "Heroines" / translated by Norman MacAfee -- The equivocal "I" : Claude Cahun as lesbian subject / by Abigail Solomon-Godeau -- A few notes on Maya Deren / by Jonas Mekas -- Cindy Sherman : an invention for two voices / by Ted Mooney -- Artists' biographies / by Erin Donnelly.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR645.N72 G735 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



An "odyssey" through historical, theoretical, critical, and literary perspectives on the three artists.

Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, and Cindy Sherman were born in different countries, in different generations; Cahun in France in 1894, Deren in Russia in 1917, and Sherman in the United States in 1954. Yet they share a deeply theatrical obsession that shatters any notion of a unified self. All three try out identities from different social classes and geographic environments, extend their temporal range into the past and future, and transform themselves into heroes and villains, mythological creatures, and sex goddesses. The premise of Inverted Odysseys is that this expanded concept of the self; this playful urge to "try on" other roles-is more than a feminist or psychological issue. It is central to our global culture, to our definition of human identity in a world where the individual exists in a multicultural and multitemporal environment. This book is an "odyssey" through historical, theoretical, critical, and literary perspectives on the three artists viewed in the context of these issues.

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 series of fifteen stream-of-consciousness monologues written in the voices of major women of literature and history, such as the Virgin Mary, Sappho, Cinderella, Penelope, Delilah, and Helen of Troy. Translated by Norman MacAfee, these perverse and hilarious vignettes make their English-language debut here. This is also the first time that Cahun's text has appeared in its entirety. The book accompanies an exhibit cocurated by Lynn Gumpert and Shelley Rice at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University.

Published in cooperation with the Grey Art Gallery, New York University.

Grey Art Gallery, New York, New York: November 16, 1999 - January 29, 2000
Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida: March - May 2000

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The three experimental artists examined here all use self-transformation, role playing, and societal commentary as devices to explore identity. Part critical essay and part exhibit catalog (Rice cocurated the show at New York University), this book spans the century through the three women's work, beginning with writer/photographer Cahun, moving ahead with midcentury filmmaker Deren, and closing with contemporary photographer Sherman. The enlightening contributions by well-known art critics and writers range from an academic discussion of lesbianism as a cultural determinate of Cahun's approach, to a diaristic examination of Deren, to a narrative role play exploring intent in Sherman's work. Also included is the full text of Cahun's farcical "Heroines," published here in its entirety for the first time. Reproductions are presented throughout and linked to the essays. The result is both an illustrative introduction to these innovators and a complex overview; as such, the book will serve both new audiences and art students. Highly recommended for inclusion in academic libraries and large public collections.--Debora Miller, Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Bonnie Clearwater and Lynn Gumpert and Shelley RiceLynn GumpertShelley RiceLuey R. LippardNorman MacAfeeAbigail Solomon-GodeauJonas MekasTed MooneyErin Donnelly
Foreward and Acknowledgmentsp. vi
Introductionp. ix
1 Inverted Odysseysp. 3
2 Scattering Selvesp. 27
3 Claude Cahun's "Heroines"p. 43
4 The Equivocal "I": Claude Cahun as Lesbian Subjectp. 111
5 A Few Notes on Maya Derenp. 127
6 Cindy Sherman: An Invention for Two Voicesp. 151
Artists' Biographiesp. 159
Contributorsp. 165
Name Indexp. 167