Princenthal takes a tangled history and weaves it into an elegant account ... She delves into central questions of marginalization and race, discussing a persistent cultural bias toward the experience of white, relatively well-off victims, who receive a disproportionate amount of attention from both the media and the criminal justice system .. it’s the irresolvable tensions that give Princenthal’s book, like the art she writes about, its pull.
In this uniquely focused and vitally analytical history, Princenthal recognizes an underappreciated facet of revolutionary art, and dramatically captures the bravura, shocking, at times media-savvy, in other cases stunningly covert performances of Yoko Ono, Suzanne Lacy, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Ana Mendieta, Adrian Piper, and Marina Abramović, as well as the ferocious pictorial work of Nancy Spero. The risks they took, the anger aroused by their exposure of society’s indifference toward or complicity in sexual crimes against women, and the intellectual underpinnings of their work are all expertly elucidated in Princenthal’s unprecedented and searing inquiry.
... convincingly rewrite[s] the history of performance art by tying it to sexual violence. Reading this book now is simultaneously illuminating and painful, an acute reminder of how far we’ve come in the decades since, yet also of how mired in the same problems we remain.