Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose
by Jennifer Blessing
Publisher's Description
The Guggenheim’s classic study of photo-based artworks that question gender identity is back in print at last. This important volume, whose title combines Gertrude Stein’s famous motto,“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” with the name of Marcel Duchamp’s feminine alter ego, Rrose Sélavy, features portraits, self-portraits and photomontages in which the gender of the subject is highlighted through performance for the camera or through technical manipulation of the image. In many of the works, photography’s strong aura of realism and objectivity promotes a fantasy of total gender transformation. In other pieces, the photographic representation articulates an incongruity between the posing body and its assumed costume. Features work by Cecil Beaton, Brassaï, Claude Cahun, Marcel Duchamp, Hannah Höch, Man Ray, Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Nan Goldin, Lyle Ashton Harris, Robert Mapplethorpe, Annette Messager, Yasumasa Morimura, Catherine Opie, Lucas Samaras, Cindy Sherman, Inez van Lamsweerde and Andy Warhol.
Amazon.com Review
The title of this large, provocative book is a combination of two historical wordplays: Gertrude Stein's famous "Rose is a rose is a rose," and Marcel Duchamp's "Rrose Selavy," the name of his imaginary, female alter ego. Spoken, it sounds like "Eros, c'est la vie,"or "Eros, that's life."

The catalog of an exhibition at New York's Guggenheim Museum, Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose is exquisitely, elegantly designed. It includes a wealth of pictures as well as six essays on issues such as surrealist ambiguity, the exhibitionist body art of the 1970s, "queer theory" and "queer reality," and the fluidity of gender identity. With the exception of some 20th-century images of rubber appendages or bound dolls, much of the material has an innocent charm. In one of Alice Austen's Victorian-era self-portraits, for example, she and two friends are dressed as men, with spats, hats, and fake moustaches. One has carefully balanced a walking stick to suggest a male member; the women are cracking up.

The volume also explores the prejudice surrounding the evolution of gender consciousness, and details the heroism of many artists devoted to tolerance, such as Claude Cahun, whom the Nazis sentenced to death. Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose will not change minds, but it will broaden those already open to its subject.

ISBN: 0892073470
Publisher: Guggenheim Museum
Hardcover : 224 pages
Language: English
Dimensions: 10.1 x 13.1 x 1 inches
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