Inappropriate Bodies: Art, Design, and Maternity

Inappropriate Bodies FC

It’s finally here! This project was years in the making, moving in fits and starts with periodic lags in between, but after a big push this past year, Inappropriate Bodies: Art, Design, and Maternity was published in late September by Demeter Press. My co-editor, Charles Reeve, and I are thrilled with how it turned out and we are proud of the hard work, long hours, and many revisions put in by all of our 20+ contributors.

As I discuss in the introduction, the book builds on and extends a series of international conversations that have been circulating around this theme for the past decade. No book is written in a vacuum but particularly with a feminist topic like this, I feel it’s important to make clear the debts we owe to previous publications, conferences, and exhibitions that paved the way. So I’m all the more grateful to include some of the “heavy hitters” in the field among the contributors, alongside emerging voices. It’s a hefty volume, nearly 400 pages, with a wide variety of scholarly and narrative essays and conversations.

We’re planning a series of conference talks and book launch events for the coming year and are hoping to get the book reviewed widely, to reach as many people as possible. In the meantime, I’m so pleased by the initial endorsements, particularly by people who know of which they speak:

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

While the book was published in September, it took a bit to ship the books from Toronto. But what a thrill to come home from work and open these boxes last week!





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