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Cover for Inappropriate Bodies Art, Design and Maternity

Inappropriate Bodies Art, Design and Maternity

Buller Rachel Epp


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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.

Demeter Press, 9781772582093, 396pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2019

About the Author

Rachel Epp Buller is a feminist art historian, visual artist, university professor, and mother of three whose work speaks to these intersections. She privileges collaboration in artistic and scholarly endeavors, including the edited Reconciling Art and Mothering (Ashgate/Routledge) and the curatorial cooperation Alice Lex-Nerlinger 1893-1975: Photomonteurin und Malerin / Photomontage Artist and Painter (Das Verborgene Museum / Lukas Verlag). Charles Reeve is associate professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Art at OCAD University. He is president of his faculty union and the Universities Art Association of Canada and the author of Artists’ Autobiographies from Contemporary to Renaissance and Back (Routledge).