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Concerning ConsequencesStudies in Art, Destruction, and Trauma$
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Kristine Stiles

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226774510

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226304403.001.0001

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Barbara Turner Smith’s Haunting (2005)1

Barbara Turner Smith’s Haunting (2005)1

(p.251) Barbara Turner Smith’s Haunting (2005)1
Concerning Consequences

Kristine Stiles

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the haunted presence in Barbara Turner Smith's art and life. Haunting permeates and informs Smith's work. From her early Xerox photocopy books and black paintings to performances that celebrate sexuality, sacrifice, spiritual quests, growth, and giving, Smith's haunting signifies a pervasive yet generative consciousness of death that is the source of her deep sense of contingency and responsibility. Smith's awareness of the fragility of being—her inner gnawing and its link to interpersonal accountability—constitutes a self-regulating and self-reflexive aesthetic practice that entails both personal reflection and interdependent care. The chapter considers some of Smith's performances that deal with various structures of traumatic memory, including Piercing the Corporate Veil, Feed Me, The Way to Be, and The 21st Century Odyssey.

Keywords:   haunting, Barbara Turner Smith, art, Xerox photocopy books, black paintings, performances, sexuality, death, traumatic memory, Piercing the Corporate Veil

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