Grad Art

Histories of the Body

Jonathan Odden

She Represents! Legible Identities in the Work of Jeanne Mammen

With an introduction from Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen, Associate Director of the Graduate Program:

Jonathan Odden’s qualifying paper exposes in luxuriant detail a key archive in the prehistory of what theorist Paul Preciado calls the pharmacopornographic regime of modernity. The watercolors of Jeanne Mammen––images now regarded as iconic distillations of the image of the Neue Frau and the blossoming of queer public life in Weimar Berlin––are analyzed here in the fullness of their presentation through various printed books and magazines. By repositioning these illustrations in their original printed-matter contexts, showing how Mammen’s figures were attached to ambivalent and shifting captions, and surrounded by advertisements for various substances and technologies of gender, Jonathan complicates and intensifies our understanding of sexual self-fashioning in the early twentieth century. As Jonathan shows, by reintroducing us to some of Mammen’s most memorable figures, hers is a body of work attuned very closely to new potentials for somatic manipulations that constituted gender as something more complexly embodied than mere performativity.


Mallory Cohen

“Ineffaceable Wounds:” Considering Colonial Trauma through Kader Attia’s Open Your Eyes

With an introduction from Michelle Apotsos, Assistant Professor of Art:

When one is told to “open your eyes,” the implication stands that one has not been seeing clearly – or that one has been seeing ‘ignorantly’ – previous to that moment. Such is the driving point behind Kader Attia’s work of the same name, which lies at the heart of Mallory Cohen’s qualifying paper project. Using Attia’s “Open Your Eyes” as a starting point, Cohen engages in an intensive interrogation the power of the grotesque – images of disfigured World War II veterans juxtaposed with similarly “wounded” African art artifacts – to institute hierarchies of visuality, power, and psycho-emotional control. Utilizing psychoanalytic investigations of wounding coupled with subsequent considerations of politics of repair, Cohen unpacks the stakes behind Attia’s project towards shedding light on contemporary conversations concerning how the lingering remnants of colonialism continue to inform the way we view non-Western objects as passive entities defined by their institutionalized narratives.


Sinclair Spratley

Unbelievable, Violent, and Beautiful Things: Alvin Baltrop’s Pier Photographs

With an introduction from C. Ondine Chavoya, Professor of Art:

Sinclair Spratley transports us to Manhattan’s Westside Piers in the 1970s in her splendid thesis, Unbelievable, Violent, and Beautiful Things: Alvin Baltrop’s Pier Photographs. Focusing on photographer Alvin Baltrop, whose work has only come to the attention art historians and museums in the last decade and a half, Spratley invites us to consider the “archive of particularity” in Baltrop’s art and life.