When Mary Kelly's best-known work, Post-Partum Document (1973--1979), was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in 1977, it caused a sensation -- an unexpected response to an intellectually demanding and aesthetically restrained installation of conceptual art. The reception signaled cultural resistance to the themes of the work: feminism and the cultural mythologizing of motherhood. This volume of essays and interviews begins with this foundational work, offering an early statement by the artist, a subsequent interview, and an essay situating the work within a broader feminist discourse that includes Martha Rosler and Judy Chicago. The collection examines such themes in Kelly's work as labor, war trauma, and the politics of care, while emphasizing the artist's sustained engagement with multiple feminisms, multiple histories of feminism, and multiple generations of feminists.
The contributions also examine Kelly's Interim (1984--1989), the subject of a special issue of October; Gloria Patri (1992), an installation conceived in response to the first Gulf War; The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi (2001), part of an extensive cycle of work executed in the medium of compressed lint pieced together like sheets of a scroll; and two recent works on feminist histories, Love Songs, which explores the role of memory in feminist politics, and Mimus, a triptych that addresses the House Un-American Activities Committee's 1962 investigation of the pacifist group, Women Strike for Peace.
Essays and Interviews by Parveen Adams, Emily Apter, Rosalyn Deutsche, Hal Foster, Margaret Iversen, Mary Kelly, Helen Molesworth, Laura Mulvey, Mignon Nixon, Griselda Pollock, Paul Smith