Demeter Press is pleased to announce the publication of Inappropriate Bodies: Art, Design, and Maternity edited by Rachel Epp Buller and Charles Reeve
Epp Buller’s and Reeve’s anthology showcases an array of rich and diverse work. The three sections, “Body Politics,” “Family Practices” and “By Design,” comprise overlapping yet distinct discussions of individual artists, critical theory, personal testaments, interviews and conversations, while employing a multiplicity of approaches to the still controversial discussion of the maternal body in visual art, performance and design. The design section was a revelation to me in its consideration of the constraints placed upon the maternal body in the constructed environment. Inappropriate Bodies is a welcome addition to the as yet under-represented field of maternal studies. -- Myrel Chernick, co-editor, with Jennie Klein, of The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art With clarity and precision, Inappropriate Bodies allows us to understand the delicate, complex links between maternity and art. While circling around the ideology of appropriateness of maternity, Epp Buller and Reeve unravel the cultural coding that surrounds it in artistic, academic and cultural contexts. The book addresses both art and design practices and explores how the work that they analyse reinforces particular expectations of maternity while implicitly negating non-conforming experiences. This is a necessary, timely collection for all scholars and artists invested in exploring the maternal in the creative context. -- Elena Marchevska, Associate Professor Performance Studies, London South Bank University This edited collection examines conflicting assumptions, expectations, and perceptions of maternity in artistic, cultural, and institutional contexts. Over the past two decades, the maternal body has gained currency in popular culture and the contemporary art world, with many books and exhibitions foregrounding artists’ experiences and art historical explorations of maternity that previously were marginalized or dismissed. In too many instances, however, the maternal potential of female bodies—whether realized or not—still causes them to be stigmatized, censored, or otherwise treated as inappropriate: cultural expectations of maternity create one set of prejudices against women whose bodies or experiences do align with those same expectations, and another set of prejudices against those whose do not. Support for mothers in the paid workforce remains woefully inadequate, yet in many cultural contexts, social norms continue to ask what is “wrong” with women who do not have children. In these essays and conversations, artists and writers discuss how maternal expectations shape both creative work and designed environments, and highlight alternative ways of existing in relation to those expectations.
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