“I welcome Smith’s willingness to grapple with the ambivalent feelings these artworks provoke.” - Helena Rickitt, Times Higher Education Supplement
“Enacting Others is both an important primer on performance and an exploration of the U.S. obsession with race and its formations. Through impressive studies of four artists, Adrian Piper, Eleanor Antin, Anna Deavere Smith, and Nikki S. Lee, Cherise Smith examines the remarkable reach of the embodied idea and the use of strategies from conceptual art to traditional theater, and tactics from cross-dressing to minstrelsy. Smith’s voice is a welcome addition to writing on contemporary art. It will redefine how we understand performance’s ability to display and address differentials of power.”—Kellie Jones, author of EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art
“Cherise Smith writes eloquently against the notion of post-identity politics, using her understanding of the persistent ‘politics of identity’ to trace the boundary-crossing practices of these four important artists. Smith discusses spectators’ identification strategies, but keeps an astute critical eye on the material corporeal circumstances of living within identity at this particular historical moment. From minstrelsy to passing, drag to embodiment, Smith parses theoretical tropes to study performance as a laboratory for experiments with human identity. Using personal memory and theory alongside political insights, the book treats a useful range of examples, from popular culture, to film, to art historical performance, to performance in everyday life. Enacting Others makes a vital contribution to gender and critical race studies.”—Jill Dolan, author of Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theater
About the Author
Cherise Smith is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Texas, Austin.