Descartes’ Daughter


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Texts by Melanie Gilligan, Jenny Jaskey, Fionn Meade, Kari Rittenbach, Piper Marshall

Descartes’ Daughter, edited by Piper Marshall, former curator of the Swiss Institute in New York, documents the critically lauded 2013 exhibition of the same name as well as continuing its ideas. Taking the historical account of philosopher René Descartes’ creation of an animatronic effigy of his deceased young daughter as its foundation, the exhibition explored the traditional divide between conceptual and expressive works, those dealing with either the mind or the body.

The reader includes five essays that explore the room in between this divide, both within the works exhibited and beyond. Fionn Meade, curator at the Walker Art Center, submits a poetic elegy to René Descartes, placing his ideas and the discussion around them at the center of this book. Jenny Jaskey, director and curator of the Artists’s Institute, writes on scale and the subjective, metabolic qualities of “human.” Piper Marshall asks how one can curate a feminist art exhibition, firmly merging the discussion.

Copublished with Swiss Institute following the exhibition“Descartes’ Daughter” (September 20–November 3, 2014), with works by Malin Arnell, Miriam Cahn, John Chamberlain, Hanne Darboven, Melanie Gilligan, Rochelle Goldberg, Nicolás Guagnini/Jeff Preiss, Rachel Harrison, Charline von Heyl, Lucas Knipscher, Jason Loebs, Ulrike Müller, Pamela Rosenkranz, Karin Schneider, and Sergei Tcherepnin.

Design by Li Inc., New York

Descartes’ Daughter
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