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Book Reviews Edited by the Conceptual Design Graduate Group, Art Department, San Francisco State University Readers are invited to send book reviews as well as suggestions for books to review to the Main Editorial Office. Electra. Exh. cat. Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, Paris, 1983. 448 pp.. illus. Paper, 180 FF. Catalogs for major exhibitions are often expensive and too bulky to carry as a guide. This catalog is no exception. However, it is a good reference book with a wealth of material on electricity in European art. It is’amply illustrated in black and white, and there are a fair number of illustrations in color as well. Some of the material is presented only in French, but most texts are in both English and French. New gimmicks of questionable value are employed in the makeup of the book. For example, both page numbers of two pages facing the reader are printed at the border of the left page at the point where the reader’s thumb holds the book. At the same location there is a key of two or threeletters intended to identify a section or a subsection, for example, “eSp” (Etudes studies). The Introduction by Frank Popper givesthe aim of the exhibition: “ ... to show how the artistic imagination has coped with the different phases and aspects of the introduction of electricity and electronics into the pattern of life in the XXth century.” Electricity is employed in three ways: as a subject treated in the plastic arts and photography; as a medium to produce, for example, light and sound; and in a supporting role, as in driving machines and computers. Popper presents a broad historical survey from 1900 to the present. An interesting tabulation following the introduction lists chronologically from 1864 relevant discoveries in science and inventions in one column. The column opposite lists important events in art and electricity. A subsequent section contains 11 essays on varied topics, for example, “Light Displays” by K. Passuth; “Japan: Electronics in Art since the 1970s” by I. Sakane; and “Music and Electricity” by D. Charles. The main section of the catalog lists the exhibited works and presents selected reproductions. In many cases statements by the artists concerning electricity in their art are included. The final section lists the artists alphabetically and gives biographical information. Reviewed by George A. Agoston, 4 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris, France. The Amazing Decade: Women and Performance Art in America 1970-1980. Moira Roth, ed. Astro Artz, Los Angeles, 1983. 165 pp., illus. Paper. ISBN: C937122-09-2. This source book had its genesis in an exhibition by the same name at the Women’s Caucus of Art Conference in New Orleans in 1980. The title essay by Moira Roth offers the context for reading the rest of the volume, a series of shorter essays and photos describing the works of more than thirty-seven individual artists. The artists include Laurie Anderson, Eleanor Antin, Nancy Buchanan, Mary Beth Edelson, Joan Jonas, Leslie Labowitz, Suzanne Lacy, Meredith Monk, Linda Montano, Pauline Oliveros, Carolee Schneemann, Bonnie Sherk and the Feminist Art Workers among many others. Roth’s essay divides women’s performance art into four major categories: the personal/ autobiographical, the mythic and ritualistic (also often autobiographical), media performances as models for feminist action, and the new directions that these same artists are taking in the eighties. A brief but dense chronology of history and women’s history is also included, from 1770 (the founding of the Daughters of Liberty) to 1979. One discovery of the women’s movement of the sixties was that “the personal is the political,” and the performance art medium was subsequently transformed by women artists who introduced autobiography, characters , and personae as part of the information explosion to validate women’s lives and feelings. When a colleague told Carolee Schneemann that he couldn’t look at “the personal clutter and persistence of feelings” in her films, that very phrase became part of a performance piece by Schneemann and was later echoed by dozens of other artists. Many of these works took on the proportions of public ritual, including choruses (Meredith Monk), “Sonic Meditations” (Pauline Oliveros), and...


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