Farewell to Joanna Frueh

We were sorry to learn of the death of artist Joanna Frueh on February 20, 2020. We published Clairvoyance (For Those in the Desert): Performance Pieces, 1979–2004, a collection of  eighteen of her essential performance texts, in 2008. Her work also appears in M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artists’ Writings, Theory, and Criticism.

Frueh’s work has been called trailblazing, inspiring, seductive, innovative, liberating, and playful. In 1976 The Feminist Art Journal published Frueh’s first piece of art criticism, and in 1979 she presented her first performance at the Deson Gallery in Chicago. In Chicago during the 1970s Frueh was the director of Artemesia Gallery, one of the first women’s galleries. As a professor of art history, contemporary art was her area of expertise, and she taught studio courses in performance art. Between 1997 and 2006 she was Professor of Art History, and then in 2007, Professor Emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno. Frueh received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art in 2008.

978-0-8223-4040-9_prAlong with Clairvoyance (For Those in the Desert), her books include Erotic Faculties (1996), Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love (2001), Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure (2006), The Glamour of Being Real (2011), A Short Story about a Big Healing (2013), and Unapologetic Beauty (2019). In 2005 the exhibition Joanna Frueh: A Retrospective, curated by Tanya Augsburg, was at Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV.

In a cover endorsment for Clairvoyance, (For Those in the Desert),  James Elkins of the Art Institute of Chicago wrote, “There is a lot of talk in academia about innovation and independence, but there is also a lot of what Nietzsche called ‘herd mentality.’ For those searching for an independent voice, here it is. Joanna is everything academic critics like: theoretically sophisticated, complex, ambiguous, experimental. She is also a lot of things academic critics don’t trust: openly sexual, oblivious of convention, dreamy, ecstatic, wild beyond classification.”

Joanna Frueh’s personal archives are at Stanford University. She is survived by her beloved spouse Kathleen Williamson of Tucson, Arizona, and her sister Renee Wood, of Willow Springs, Missouri. We at the Press send them our condolences.

 

 

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s