The nature of collage—heterogeneous, pulled apart, shape shifting, disrupted, cyborg, fantasy—has long made it a feminist strategy in life and in art. Justine Kurland’s new work, SCUMB Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men’s Books) pays homage to Valerie Solanas. Each collage is a reclamation of history; a dismemberment of the patriarchy; a gender inversion of the usual terms of possession; and a modest attempt at offsetting a life of income disparity. While markedly different in style, the defiant female visions pictured in these compositions are a continuation of those depicted in Kurland’s earlier photographic projects Girl Pictures (1997-2002) and Mama Babies (2004-07).   

The lecture will follow the trajectory of Kurland’s work with an ear to photography’s inherent world building. Here photography imagines a social space, part fiction part reality that forges a historical present, a shared liveable world. It is a call for freedom – freedom to create, to destroy, to imagine, and to reshape our visual and social world.

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Justine Kurland, known for her utopian photographs of American landscapes and their fringe communities, has spent the better part of the last twenty years on the road. Her recent work departs from the road trips and contemplates her origins: her apartment in New York City, her hometown of Fulton, New York, and her mother’s home in rural Virginia. Concurrently, Kurland cut and collaged the pages of photography books in her personal library authored by canonized white men. 

Kurland (born in Warsaw, New York, 1969) received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts and her MFA from Yale University. Her work is in the public collections of institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and International Center of Photography, among others.


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