For over five decades, Dorothy Iannone has been making exuberantly sexual and joyfully transgressive image-text works. Karen Rosenberg wrote of her in The New York Times “High priestess, matriarch, sex goddess: the self-taught American artist Dorothy Iannone has been called all these things and more. Since the early 1960s she has been making paintings, sculptures and artist’s books that advocate ‘ecstatic unity, ‘ most often achieved through lovemaking.” Beginning with the famous “An Icelandic Saga,” in which Iannone narrates her journey to Iceland (where she meets Dieter Roth and leaves her husband to live with him), this singular volume traces Iannone’s search for “ecstatic unity” from its carnal beginnings in her relationships with Roth and other men into its spiritual incarnation as she becomes a practicing Buddhist. Reproducing several previously unpublished or long-out-of-print works in their entirety (such as Danger in D sseldorf, The Whip, “An Explosive Interlude”), as well as longer excerpts from rarely-seen works like A Cookbook and Berlin Beauties, this volume gives readers the chance to read her work with sustained attention, and enjoy the sophistication of the stories she tells and the visual-textual embellishments that make them so irresistible.
Associated with Fluxus through her close friendships with Emmett Williams, Robert Filliou and Ben Vautier, as well as most well-known for her relationship with Dieter Roth, Dorothy Iannone (born 1933) nevertheless has her own distinct aesthetic style and substantive concerns. Her first major museum show in the U.S. came when she was 75 in 2008 at the New Museum, shortly after her “orgasm box” titled “I Was Thinking of You” was included in the Whitney Biennial in 2006, and she has recently attained more recognition with solo shows at the Camden Arts Centre, Palais de Tokyo and the Berlinischer Galerie.