“Pauline Boty : Pop Artist and Woman”
This richly illustrated book, funded by the Paul Mellon Foundation, is the first and much needed in-depth study of the life and works of Pop artist Pauline Boty. 83 full colour images, a fascinating and moving text and only £20.
Pauline Boty (1938-66) was an innovative and talented artist and also a beautiful, hip player on the swinging London 60s scene. She trained at the Royal College of Art and was a friend and colleague of David Hockney, Peter Blake and Derek Boshier with all of whom she exhibited. Intellectual, politically radical and with a prescient grasp of gender politics she produced a vibrant body of paintings and collages that, enriches Pop Art from a female perspective.
Yet when she died, tragically young, from cancer in 1966 (aged only 28) she disappeared from cultural view for nearly 30 years.
As a serious artist who refused to relinquish her right to a proactive sexuality her work both celebrates the pleasures that women find in popular culture and critiques the sexual politics of the time. In the context of Pop Art (usually seen as male dominated and sexist) she found visual form for an autonomous, proactive female sexuality, desire and pleasure. She was also very much part of the post war Cultural New Left and the Cuban Revolution, the assassination of Kennedy, the Vietnam war are all referenced in her work – along with Elvis, Marilyn (with whom she identified) and Proust in a wonderful collapse of high into low culture.
However, Boty’s distinct voice, that expands our understanding of the 60s and enriches Pop, has, until recently, been marginalized in or excluded from both mainstream and feminist histories. The book unpicks the reasons for this cultural silencing. Then, in the context of postmodernism and developments in feminist thinking, it brings to light the very real relevance that Boty’s work and life have for current debates and concerns, speaking to a contemporary audience negotiating an ever more ‘pornified’ visual environment.
- Paperback Publisher Wolverhampton Art Gallery (with support form the Paul Mellon Foundation)
- 144 Pages, 265mm x 210mm.
- 83 colour illustrations, 32 in black and white.
In the light of cuts in funding, the Wolverhampton Art Gallery has delegated distribution of this book to the author, Dr Sue Tate (trading as Anjo Books)