Simone Leigh’s eponymous show at the Luhring Augustine gallery in New York from September 6 to October 20, 2018 features a sculptural gathering of vessels, which themselves are a mode of black feminist theorizing. Working through the sculptural, this essay uses the materiality of the vessels to illuminate multiple possibilities of thinking with race and aesthetics to remake feminist theory. This turn toward form, assemblage, and sensation, in turn, critiques notions of subjectivity that revolve around desire. Studying these vessels refracts feminist theorizing through multiple lenses of black feminism, bringing us toward a new story—a myth of feminist theory.
Toward Mythic Feminist Theorizing: Simone Leigh and the Power of the Vessel
amber jamilla musser is an associate professor of American studies at George Washington University. Her research is at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality studies. Dr. Musser has also published widely on race and critical theory, queer femininities and race, race and sexuality, and queer of color critique. She is the author of Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance (New York University Press, 2018), which received a 2018 Arts Writer’s Grant from the Warhol Foundation, and Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (New York University Press, 2014). She also coedited, along with Kadji Amin and Roy Pérez, Queer Form: Aesthetics, Race, and the Violences of the Social, a special issue of asap/Journal (May 2017). Currently, she is beginning a project on noise, ethics, and aesthetics and writes art reviews for Brooklyn Rail.
Amber Jamilla Musser; Toward Mythic Feminist Theorizing: Simone Leigh and the Power of the Vessel. differences 1 December 2019; 30 (3): 63–91. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-7974002
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