Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert)

Performance Pieces, 1979–2004

Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert)

Book Pages: 408 Illustrations: 32 b&w photos, 16 color photos Published: March 2008

Author: Joanna Frueh

Art and Visual Culture > Feminist Art, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Theater and Performance > Performance Art

The performance artist Joanna Frueh has emerged over the past twenty-five years as a wildly original voice in feminist art. Her uninhibited performances are celebrations of beauty, sensuality, eroticism, and pleasure. Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert), which features eighteen of her essential performance texts, is a celebration of this remarkable artist and her work. Arranged chronologically, from The Concupiscent Critic (1979) through Ambrosia (2004), the pieces reveal Frueh’s evolution as an artist and intellectual over the course of her career. Many of these texts have never before been published; others have not been readily available until now. Among the sixteen color photographs in this richly illustrated book are pictures of Frueh performing and images from Joanna in the Desert, a 2006 collaboration between Frueh and the artist and scholar Jill O’Bryan.

Frueh’s performances are unabashedly autobiographical, as likely to reflect her scholarship as a feminist art historian as her love affairs or childhood memories. For Frueh, eros and self-love are part of a revolutionary feminist strategy; her work exemplifies the physicality and embrace of pleasure that she finds wanting in contemporary feminist theory. Scholarly and rigorous yet playful in tone, her performances are joyful, filled with eroticism, flowers, sexy costumes, and beautiful colors, textures, and scents. Recurring themes include Frueh’s passionate attachment to the desert landscape and the idea of transformation: a continual reaching for clarity of thought and feeling.
In an afterword as lyrical and breathless as her performance pieces, Frueh explores her identification with the desert and its influence on her art. Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert) includes a detailed chronology of Frueh’s performances.


Clairvoyance (For Those In The Desert) is an artful, insightful, and important collection of performance texts by artist and scholar Joanna Frueh. Indeed, Clairvoyance could be considered an essential primer for feminists.” — Joanna Chlebus, Feminist Review blog

Clairvoyance couples the strength of her words and the stage direction, to give the reader quite a vivid look into the life of this exceptional artist.” — Jenna V. Loceff, Curve

“[A] a beautiful and very pink 400-page tome that looks great on a coffee table. . . . Clairvoyance is a great place to start learning about not just 20th-century performance art, but also about one of the more intriguing and unheralded performance artists of our time.” — Jarret Keene, Tucson Weekly

“In this time of fabrication and disconnect—body from image, self from its representation—it is good to be reminded that early feminist artists did not separate body from consciousness from politics from theory. Joanna Frueh’s explorations in performance, photography, and texts are the real (un-airbrushed) deal, revealing the works of a particular and specific body-self, just flawed enough to be inspiriting.” — Suzanne Lacy, Otis College of Art and Design

“There is a lot of talk in academia about innovation and independence, but there is also a lot of what Nietzsche called ‘herd mentality.’ For those searching for an independent voice, here it is. Joanna is everything academic critics like: theoretically sophisticated, complex, ambiguous, experimental. She is also a lot of things academic critics don’t trust: openly sexual, oblivious of convention, dreamy, ecstatic, wild beyond classification. As she says: ‘She disobeys injunctions against knowledge, for the severest education forces the initiate to reject the law.’ If you aren’t dubious about this book, you aren’t an academic. But if you don’t find something to love in it, you might consider discarding some of the books in your library and substituting this one.” — James Elkins, School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Joanna Frueh is a performance artist, writer, scholar, and teacher. For more than twenty-five years, she has performed one-woman shows throughout the United States and abroad. She is Professor of the Practice of Art at the University of Arizona and Professor of Art History Emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure; Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love; Erotic Faculties; and Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective. She is a coeditor of Picturing the Modern Amazon; New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action; and Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology. Her art, essays, and criticism have appeared in many publications, including Art Journal, New Art Examiner, Art in America, Artforum, Hypatia, and High Performance. Frueh lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Jill O’Bryan is an independent scholar and artist. She is the author of Carnal Art: Orlan’s Refacing.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Nota Bena xv

Fucking Hot: An Introduction / Jill O'Brien 4

Joanna Frueh's Writing

The Concupiscent Critic (1979) 51

BRUMAS (1982) Lyrics and text by Joanna Frueh, music by Thomas Hochheiser 57

Justifiable Anger (1982–83) ) Lyrics and text by Joanna Frueh, music by Thomas Hochheiser 76

Dual Conception (1983) Written by Joanna Frueh for a piece to be performed by Frueh and Thomas Kochheiser 93

Solar Shores (1984) ) Lyrics and text by Joanna Frueh, music by Thomas Hochheiser 108

A Few Erotic Faculties (1985–86) 121

Clairvoyance (For Those in The Desert) (1985–86) ) Lyrics and text by Joanna Frueh, music by Thomas Hochheiser 152

Breathing (1988) A Proposal for a Performance by Joanna Frueh and Russell Dudley, written by Frueh 168

Vermilion (1988) 169

Mouth Piece (1989) 180

Amazing Grace (1990) Written and Performed by Joanna Frueh and Russell Dudley 209

Pythia (1994) 225

Dressing Aphrodite (1997) 251

Sade, My Sweet, My Truffle; or, Giving a Fuck (1999) 278

The Aesthetics of Orgasm (2002) 287

Voyaging to Cythera (2003) 312

The Performance of Pink (2003) 319

Ambrosia (2004) 326

Shaking out the Dead: An Afterword by Joanna Frueh 337

Joanna Frueh Performance Chronology (1979—2005) 353

Key Readings from Joanna Frueh's Childhood to the Present 363
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4040-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4021-8
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