So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fragments From The Delta Of Venus. Judy Chicago & Anais Nin

Fragments from The Delta of Venus is a collection of 20 watercolors by the famous feminist artist, Judy Chicago. The paintings were inspired by 20 fragments from the erotic short stories of Anais Nin published in the collection The Delta of Venus. These stories, written for a private collector of erotica in the 1940s, were published in 1974 at the height of both the Sexual and Feminist Revolutions.

Judy Chicago found short fragments, five to seven lines long, that she found "riveting" and they became the inspiration for these paintings that "articulate a feminine perspective on sex." The paintings depict genitalia and sexual activity, and use color and line to create an image of sexual excitement and passion.

Each painting is depicted on a page of its own, with the text from The Delta of Venus that inspired in on the facing page. These are preceded by a page that has the title of the story from which the text was taken. It is a very simple presentation with a list of the painting titles and the date of composition at the end of the book. The paintings were done over a three year period from 2001 - 2003.

At the beginning of the book are one page biographies of Anais Nin and Judy Chicago. These are followed by a nine page memoir of Anais Nin written by Judy Chicago that tells of their friendship and Nin's influence on her. It also goes into why she created this particular set of paintings.

This is a beautiful and erotic book. It is well-produced with a pink binding. PowerHouse Books has done a wonderful job of presenting these works.


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