Biography—the 12th issue of GIRLS LIKE US—features interviews with Amy Sillman and MarilynWaring, a poem by Hanne Lippard, and articles, essays, and projects by Nadia Hebson, Jill Johnston, Rebecca E. Karl, Nina Lykke, Sara Manente, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Chris E. Vargas, and Amy Suo Wu, among others.
Join Jessica Gysel, Sara Kaaman, Katja Mater, and Marnie Slater for the issue’s launch in Rotterdam.
I live in a world now where everything is “delegated” to photography. Nothing is left to memory, your own memory. What I’m interested in, instead, are things that can’t be seen, not those that can be… I have always labored under the illusion—but I also think it was true—that nobody ever photographed me. Because my face is not for sale. The real me is not photographable. — Benedetta Barzini, to Beniamino Barrese
Beniamino Barrese is the son of Benedetta Barzini—the first Italian model to appear on the cover of American Vogue—and his mother’s obsessive interlocutor throughout his documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MYMOTHER, one of the year’s best.
Summoned by Diana Vreeland in the mid-1960s to come to New York for a few weeks, Barzini stayed for a few years, a sought-after subject of Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, and Andy Warhol, a confident of Gerard Malanga and Salvador Dalí, and an acquaintance of Marcel Duchamp.
Barzini was a double-rebel. Modeling in Manhattan put a necessary distance between Barzini and her parents—heiress Giannalisa Feltrinelli and writer Luigi Barzini, Jr., author of TheItalians. But the trajectory of second-wave feminism in the 1970s opened Barzini’s eyes to the ornamental condition of women, and she returned to Italy and became an activist and left-wing academic.
I asked myself this question: Why do we have prototypes of beauty? Why are models at the bow of the ship and the other women are squashed together into the stern? Why? Because men invent women… Maybe it would be better if female bodies disappeared from men’s imaginations. — BenedettaBarzini
Barzani explains to her son that the camera is a dangerous liar because within its capture of arbitrary moments, it “freezes” life “within a limited boundary,” contaminating thought and inscribing conformity. “I don’t like frozen things… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a hundred million photos of sunsets. Frankly, they’re all the same. But they weren’t the same when you saw them.”
Barzini is by turns loving and exasperated with her son and his never-ending investment in images and their documentation. Yet Barzini still models herself—recently appearing in SimoneRocha‘s Fall-Winter 2017 show in London. Nothing if not contradictory, Barzini wants to remove herself from a world she finds deplorable, railing against ambiguity yet unsure which entrance to the void she should walk through. She explains to Barresethat their work together on this film is an act of “separation.” The filmmaker sees it differently, and together they find a sense of an ending.
As part of the Warhol Lecture Series, Donna De Salvo—curator of the exhibition ANDYWARHOL—FROM A TO B AND BACK AGAIN, organized by the Whitney and now at the Art Institute of Chicago—will talk about the artist’s impact and importance, followed by a reception and dinner on the Near North Side.
To celebrate the installation of HERE COMES THE SUN—her new work for the Guggenheim rotunda—join Pia Camil in conversation with Pablo León de la Barra for a discussion of her practice, with a reception to follow.
HERE COMES THE SUN, a crowdsourced fabric sculpture, “extends the artist’s engagement with collaboration, the impact of consumer culture, contemporary trade routes, and the legacies of modernism.”*