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Susan King's "Redressing the Sixties, (art)lessons a la mode"

           See The Exhibition Online, And Order Your Catalog.

August 24, 2001
Media contact only: Ann Greer 202.783.7373


Washington, D.C. -- Artist and writer Susan E. King and the National Museum
of Women in the Arts have published "Redressing the Sixties, (art)lessons á
la mode" in an edition of 125 copies. The 36-page book, written, designed,
and printed by the artist, was created for and supported by the museum’s
Library Fellows, who sponsor an annual competition resulting in the creation
of an artist’s book.

Part memoir, part cultural artifact, "Redressing the Sixties" is King’s
witty, whimsical recollection of the influences on her life related to
clothing and fashion. Growing up in Kentucky during the 1960s and 1970s, she
coped with the universal challenges of being a teenager and national traumas
like the Vietnam War and the Kennedy assassinations. The book contains 14
original prose pieces by King along with texts she selected to provide
commentary, ranging from film dialogue to artist Dora Carrington’s

King is known not only for her accomplished, evocative writing, but also for
her skillful book-making techniques. "Redressing the Sixties" is an
elaborate fabric sample book: small remnants of fabrics from King’s clothes
of the period are glued, pinned, and stitched onto the pages to illustrate
the text. The book is bound with hand-decorated colored paste paper and has
a sewn exposed-spine Coptic binding. King designed the text by computer to
tell multiple stories on the page and printed it on her letterpress on
handmade paper produced for this edition. The double-page spread becomes a
field where different kinds and sizes of information can be seen in
relationships that defy the traditional linear narrative.

King commented, “I have wanted to do this project for 15 years, and I would
not have done it without the grant from the museum. Much of my creative
energy went into clothing at that time in my life. I made textile and
ceramic sculpture during the day, and sold fabric at night. In my spare
time, I sewed new clothes for myself as quickly as the winds of fashion
changed. One thing was constant: my desire to become an artist. I am
thrilled that the museum award has allowed me to make this book a reality.”

Susan E. King’s work has been called “a feat of craftsmanship and
perception” by The Atlantic Monthly. She has made artist’s books since 1975,
drawing on her own life for content. She was born in Lexington, Kentucky in
1947, studied art at the University of Kentucky, and received an M.A. in Art
at New Mexico State University. She then moved to Los Angeles to join the
experimental Feminist Studio Workshop and for two years studied writing,
language, criticism, photography, and design before turning to printing
arts. Her books are in many permanent collections, including the Getty
Research Library, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Victoria and Albert
Museum. Currently she divides her time between Los Angeles and rural

"Redressing the Sixties, (art)lessons á la mode" is available for $395 ($450
beginning January 1, 2002) from the National Museum of Women in the Arts
museum shop, or by mail by calling 1.800.222.7270. Women artists who wish to
present a proposal for the 2002 Library Fellows Award should send a request
for guidelines along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the NMWA
Library and Research Center, 1250 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20005.
Submission deadline is January 31, 2002.

About the museum

The National Museum of Women in the Arts, founded in 1981 and opened in
1987, is the only museum dedicated solely to celebrating the achievements of
women in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Its permanent collection
contains works by more than 800 artists, including Judith Leyster, Maria
Sibylla Merian, Mary Cassatt, Camille Claudel, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida
Kahlo, Elizabeth Catlett, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Louise
Bourgeois. The museum also conducts multidisciplinary programs for diverse
audiences, maintains a Library and Research Center, publishes a quarterly
magazine, and has organized 24 state committees. More than 100,000 people
visit the museum each year, including thousands of young people who come
with schools and scouting groups. NMWA’s current national membership of
35,000 is among the top ten percent of museum memberships nationwide. The
museum is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., in a
landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.
- 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon - 5 p.m. General admission is $5 for adults, $3
for students and seniors (60 and over), and free for NMWA members and youth
(18 and under). Free Community Days are offered the first Sunday and
Wednesday of each month. For information call 202.783.5000 or visit the
museum’s website, www.nmwa.org.

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