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Francesca Woodman Hardcover – March 31, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Hardcover, March 31, 2013
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Editorial Reviews


In an exceptionally informative catalog essay for the present exhibition, the art historian Julia Bryan-Wilson surveys the critical and art historical literature that has proliferated around Woodman's oeuvre.
Francesca Woodman, the photographer who took her own life at 22 in 1981, is as close to a true saint as the putatively secular world of contemporary art can claim. The dreamy, formally playful and disarmingly erotic pictures Woodman made - mostly of herself partly unclothed or naked - project a self surrendering unreservedly to the spirit of art…it remains a poignant record of adolescent joy, fear, ambition and angst. It was not only her body that she exposed - she bared her soul too, and that is a rare and beautiful thing. (Ken Johnson The New York Times)

Even though they are quite small, about 5 by 5 inches, Woodman's haunting photographs have drawn admirers for decades. (Ted Loos The New York Times)

Franesca Woodman's black and white portraits have a way of getting under your skin. (Hilarie M Sheets W Magazine)

This is a comprehensive monograph of Francesca Woodman's photographic oeuvre, which as achieved cult status is the 30 years since the artist's brief yet prolific career ended when she took her life at age 22. (Jack Crager American Photo)

About the Author

Julia Bryan-Wilson is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era and her writing has appeared in Art Bulletin, Art Journal, Artforum, Oxford Art Journal, and other venues.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: D.A.P./San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; First Edition edition (March 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935202669
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935202660
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 10 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ReviewerWhoPrefersToBeAnonymous VINE VOICE on November 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Francesca Woodman was a photographer who committed suicide in 1981 at the age of 22. The dust jacket blurb of this book says in part "Produced in conjunction with the first major American exhibition of the artist's work in more than two decades [at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and at New York's Guggenheim Museum], this catalog is a landmark reconsideration of Woodman for the twenty-first century." I'll compare it with the 2006 book published by Phaidon that is also titled "Francesca Woodman".

Here is a list of five ways in which this book compares favorably with the Phaidon book: (1) The inside of the dust jacket has a cool reproduction of the right part of the diazotype entitled "Caryatid, New York, 1980." See Customer Image. (2) The paper is an elegant off-white color, instead of the harsh white of Phaidon. (3) The reproductions of the prints are at the original size whenever possible, as opposed to Phaidon which reproduces some photos larger and some photos smaller than the originals. See Customer Image. (4) The four essays on pages 166-213 are together better than the Phaidon book's 66-page essay "Scattered in Space and Time" by Chris Townsend which rambles considerably. For me, the most interesting essay (because it didn't overlap much with essays in other books on Woodman) was "The Geometry of Time: Some Notes on Francesca Woodman's Video" on pages 196-203. (5) I didn't do an exact count, but approximately one-third of this book's 180 photos are not found in the Phaidon book. (In fact, the dust jacket blurb says that this book has "many previously unpublished photographs," although inside the book one cannot tell which photos have or have not been published before.
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Format: Hardcover
Francesca Woodman (1958 - 1981) is one of those artists whose potential was never realized fully - she died, the result of suicide, in 1981 at the age of 22. But the images she created with the camera continue to haunt the viewer and this portfolio puts it all together very well. Woodman's small photographs deal with the feminine mystique, an acceptable way of describing the strange poses she created with women models - including herself. There is a flavor here of surrealism (especially in the image f a seated girl with a handing mirage of a feminine body nearby.

It is difficult to grasp the degree of creativity necessary to create some 800 images in the course of the nine years during which she embraced her art. These images are not suggestive of Dorothea Lange or Diane Arbus, but they tend to have the same sort of response from the viewer - intense reality that becomes surreal in the context in which the statement is made. Her language is definitely her own, a mixture of dark motifs, sinister atmospheres, the use of 'sets' that are well worn interiors with the accompanying used and abused accouterments, and a sense of alienation, likely not dissimilar form the fragile mind state at her demise.

The book is a well-designed catalogue with sensitive essays and the largest collection of the works of this fascinating photographer artist that has been published. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, February 12
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This is again a very psychological photographic book of francesca woodman. she was a young gifted photographer and her work is amazingly good. the books is a piece of art.
definitly a must have book.
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By Chk on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A major talent gone too soon. I don't believe in coincidences but the day after this book arrived my quarterly copy of 'Shots' (fine art photo magazine) arrived. I tossed it down on the floor by my desk and it flopped open to a photo by... Francesca Woodman. I emailed the editor/publisher of 'Shots' and told him the 'I don't believe in conincidences' thing and he said he didn't either. He also said he had a copy of this (which is a nicely bound, high quality catalog of her posthumous exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) and had seen the exhibition it illustrates in person. Glad I bought it. Nice book. Great artist.
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Format: Hardcover
I've looked at-or fallen into-three books of Ms Woodman's work recently, the other two being the Sammlung Verbund edition and On Being An Angel. The work itself is stunning and disturbing and I'll get back to that. The history of the discovery of Francesca Woodman is equally disturbing because, due to her suicide at 22 years of age, she has been analyzed to death by critics, coopted by the academic feminists and turned into a holy martyr, and her body of work and her body-which is her main subject-have been picked over and poked at by an army of 'intellectuals' who obfuscate in Artspeak. She had the misfortune to die just about the time that Academia discovered both Women's Studies and photography. The essayists in this volume, to give them credit and if I read them right, attempt to give a rounded view of Ms Woodman and her work, including her personal vision and talent, and rescue her from the clutches of the authors who, in my mind, were/are pushing their own careers and agendas. One performance theorist went so far as to suggest that her suicide was part of her art. Yeh, right, and when I almost drove my car into a concrete bridge abutment when I was 19, I was making an aesthetic statement. Also, after one hears her parents in the film The Woodmans, one might have some sound theories as to why Francesca was clinically depressed. But-some bottom lines for me: Artists do not necessarily know why they do what they do when they are creating. Also, when the work is this strong and this visceral, the artist was probably not thinking deep intellectual thoughts. Also, the artist, especially one as intelligent and aware as Ms Woodman, is a complex mix of ideas and influences that he/she doesn't understand and creates his/her own vision from them.Read more ›
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