Joanne Mitchell

In Amerika They Call Us Dykes, Revisiting the Lesbian Chapter (1970-2005)
Ink jet prints, photocopies, RC prints, letterpress, carbon imprint on drawing paper
9 x 9’
2010
(left, Angela Jimenez; middle, 2 photos by Chris Carroll and Alix P. Shedd; right Joanne Mitchell)
(left, Angela Jimenez; middle, 2 photos by Chris Carroll and Alix P. Shedd; right Joanne Mitchell)
Work in Exhibition:

In Amerika They Call Us Dykes, Revisiting the Lesbian Chapter (1970-2005)
Ink jet prints, photocopies, RC prints, letterpress, carbon imprint on drawing paper
9 x 9’
2010
(Installation and gallery views)

In Amerika, They Call Us Dykes – Revisiting the Lesbian Chapter

As an artist I use charting, performance, video and photography to engage with the strategies, histories, and trajectories of feminism and radical lesbianism. Recent works seek to map out when and how these movements impact, interrupt, corroborate, or get recuperated by the culture industry.  I have worked for more than a year investigating the impact, history and historicization of the book Our Bodies, Ourselves.  I have studied the way the book has changed through each edition including changes to content, means of production and design. 

“In Amerika, They Call Us Dykes – Revisiting the Lesbian Chapter” is a wall chart that lays out elements of the pages from the chapter on homosexuality across all of the editions of Our Bodies, Ourselves.  The chart invites viewers to engage with the history and legacy of the women’s health movement from a specifically lesbian perspective.  The chart measures 9’ x 9’ and has 5 rows and eight columns.  Each row contains a representation of a particular formal element of the chapter for each of the eight editions.  The lay-out of the chart drives a comparison of individual elements across all editions.  Viewers have an opportunity to compare representational strategies as they appear in the chapter titles, linguistic representations of lesbian, narrative constructions, and images.  Significantly, from 1973 -1984 the writing of the lesbian chapter was outsourced by the Boston Women’s Health Collective to Lesbian Liberation.  Looking at the history of this chapter offers an opportunity to consider the historical intersections and distances between feminism and radical lesbianism.

- Joanne Mitchell