Nine Fragments from the Delta of Venus
Fragments from the Delta of Venus is Judy Chicago’s visual adaption of excerpts from the French Cuban-American writer Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus, published in 1977, the year of the author’s death. Originally written in 1940, at the behest of a private collector, the stories collected in Delta of Venus are humorous vignettes not intended for publication. Years later, in a postscript to Delta of Venus, Nin wrote that at the time, the only model she had for erotica came from the male perspective—an inadequate representation of female sensuality.The nine color etchings are housed in a deep red, heart-shaped case that mimics a box of sweets—speaking to hidden delights, desires, and private pleasures. The work is at once a tender and sensual reprisal against the censuring and appropriation of female sexuality.
Judy Chicago writes:Too many aspects of female experience remain partially or entirely unrepresented in art. As a result, women have an insufficient cultural repository of images that support and/or expand our own lived female experiences. This is particularly limiting to our sexuality, which has been used and misused by advertisers, pornographers, and male artists alike. Nine Fragments from the Delta of Venus is a tribute to the legacy of Anaïs Nin, who shared a close relationship to Chicago as both mentor and friend.
Judy Chicago is an internationally renowned artist, author, and feminist whose career has spanned over five decades. Her primary focus addresses areas of absence in visual iconography, particularly where it concerns women in history and their marginalization from the art historical record.Nine
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