Johanna Fateman is writer, musician, a founding member of the rock band Le Tigre, and co-owner of Seagull Salon in New York City.Artist Bio
Amerikan Woman is a book-length work of experimental nonfiction that merges the artist’s biographical research about radical feminist writer and antipornography activist Andrea Dworkin with her own memoir, drawing upon diverse literary genres, including historical and dystopian fiction. Dworkin’s life and apocalyptic vision becomes a lens through which to see the artist’s personal history, contemporary feminism, and the dawn of Trumpism.
Excerpts by Johanna Fateman
Eroticized, naturalized, and done to death, rape is a lark, a metaphor, and a trope; it’s an art-historical subject in a world where its traditional victims are not, and cannot be, artists. Over the past four decades, feminists have struggled with the representational dilemmas presented by an act that has been easily and frequently depicted by men, in all available media, for at least two thousand years. Which is to say, this artistic project—the truthful portrayal of sexual violence, its institutional life, and its effects—has barely begun.
Arriving in downtown DC just before the dreaded ceremony commenced, the profound utility of the pussy hat became crystal clear. You could instantly identify feminist or foe in the streets, and in all its proud homemade iterations, the pink hat was a relentless, effortlessly taunting, indisputably made-in-America riposte to the deplorable red MAGA cap and the pussy grabbing it represents. The stunning visual effect of the pussy hats en masse is well documented by the field-of-fuchsia aerial photos from Saturday’s marches, but it was also amazing to see them dispersed around the city in the mix of protests and inaugural events on Friday, as the marchers gradually gained critical mass. Rosy, abstracted cat-ears descended on the city in a constant stream, their wearers cheerfully greeting one another in restaurants, bathroom lines, and on public transportation as the Trump people skulked away. Later, at the hotel bar I watched the empty parade bleachers on CNN and my spirits soared. It seemed we would be granted one wish, at least—turnout for the Women’s March would beat the inauguration’s.
New York, NY
Writer and musician Johanna Fateman is a founding member of the rock band Le Tigre and co-owner of Seagull Salon in New York City. In the 90s, she wrote and published the influential fanzines Snarla (co-written with Miranda July) and Artaud-mania, among others. Her papers from this era are housed at the Fales Library Riot Grrrl collection at New York University. Fateman contributes weekly reviews to The New Yorker’s “Goings On About Town” section, and regularly writes for Artforum. Her writing has appeared in Art in America, Aperture, Bookforum, Apology, Lenny Letter, 4Columns, and The New Inquiry. In November 2017, she was profiled in T Magazine for her work as a feminist art writer and business owner. She was a recipient of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for short-form writing, and her art criticism was lauded in Holland Cotter’s New York Times year-end round-up. Recent projects include the book-length text accompanying the first comprehensive monograph for video artist Charles Atlas, a songwriting collaboration with Russian Band Pussy Riot, a catalogue essay for Judy Chicago’s retrospective at ICA Miami, and the collection Last Days at Hot Slit: The Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin, published by Semiotext(e).