Thu, 25 Apr 2024 18:45 - 20:45

Art/Lit Salon: The Body and the Spirit (In person)

Join us for chat, discussion, drinks and thought-provocation at Art/Lit, The London Library’s salon event, which explores all things art, all things literature and where the two forms collide. 

This time we’re delighted to welcome two acclaimed art writers and cultural critics Lauren Elkin and Jennifer Higgie, whose latest books are both radical reappraisals of women artists and their place in art history but each told through the opposing prisms of the body and the spirit. 

In The Other Side: A Journey into Women, Art and the Spirit World, Jennifer Higgie investigates the lives and work of a group of extraordinary women artists, including twelfth-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen; nineteenth-century spiritualist Georgiana Houghton; Hilma af Klint, who painted with the help of her spirit guides; and occultist Ithell Colquhoun, all of whom sought to communicate with, and learn from, other dimensions. Lauren Elkin’s latest book, Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art is a landmark intervention in how we think about art and the body, calling attention to a radical heritage of feminist work that not only reacts against patriarchy but redefines its own aesthetic aims, from Julia Margaret Cameron's photography to Kara Walker's silhouettes, Vanessa Bell's portraits to Eva Hesse's rope sculptures, Carolee Schneemann's body art to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's trilingual masterpiece DICTEE. 

In conversation with each other and with salon host, writer/artist/curator Dominique Heyse-Moore, they’ll discuss the very different routes women have taken to buck the gender exclusions of art history and create their own powerful languages to make ground breaking art. 

Lauren Elkin is the author of several books, including Flâneuse: Women Walk the City, a Radio 4 Book of the Week, a New York Times Notable Book of 2017 and a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel award for the art of the essay. Her essays on art, literature, and culture have appeared in the London Review of Books, the New York Times, Granta, Harper's, Le Monde, Les Inrockuptibles, and frieze, among others. She is also an award-winning translator, most recently of Simone de Beauvoir's previously unpublished novel The Inseparables. Her own novel, Scaffolding, will be published in June. 

Jennifer Higgie is a writer who studied painting at art school in Australia before moving to London. Previously the editor of frieze magazine, she was also the presenter of Bow Down, a podcast about women in art history. She is a screenwriter, the editor of a collection of writings on art and humour The Artist’s Joke, a novel Bedlam, a children’s book There’s Not One, and The Mirror and the Palette: Rebellion, Revolution and Resilience – 500 Years of Women’s Self-Portraits

Dominique Heyse-Moore is a writer, artist, and Senior Curator of British Contemporary Art at Tate Britain, where she recently curated the Sarah Lucas exhibition ‘Happy Gas’. She was on The London Library Emerging Writers Programme 21/22, where she worked on a triptych of graphic memoirs exploring the legacy of empire and her own family’s heritage, which spans Africa, China, the Caribbean, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. 

Lauren Elkin’s Art Monsters and Jennifer Higgie’s The Other Side will be available to buy at the event and online from our partner bookshop Hatchards

NB This event will take place in person at The London Library. Please see our Event Access Guidelines before you arrive. Doors (and the bar and chat) open at 6.45pm, the talk will run from 7.15-8.15/8.30pm and the bar will close at 8.45pm. 

London Library events are subject to Terms and Conditions.

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