The career of the New York-based artist Mary Beth Edelson (1933–2021) was shaped by feminism and the Women’s Liberation Movement. Edelson is most well known for her audacious photocollage poster Some Living American Artists (1971), for which she de-faced a reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s mural The Last Supper (1495–8) with images of women artists. She is also associated with Goddess feminism, and so with the neo-paganism of the Women’s Spirituality Movement, a praxis and a discourse beset in histories of feminism as at best naïve and universalising, and at worst exclusionary. Returning to Donna Haraway’s well-known feminist essay ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’ (1985) and her imbrication of the cyborg and the goddess in a ‘spiral dance’, I look again at how the goddess, the cyborg and other critters manifested in the technologies of Edelson’s feminist art.
Amy Tobin is Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge, Curator, Contemporary Programmes, Kettle’s Yard and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. Her book Women Artists Together is forthcoming with Yale University Press this year
Organised by Dr Rachel Warriner (The Courtauld).