An Ecstatic Unity

Karen Archey, Flash Art International, September 29, 2014

“Grande dame,” “sex,” “Dieter Roth,” “femininity,” “proximity,” “censored,” “folkloric”: these are but a handful of platitudinous words that often describe American artist Dorothy Iannone’s decades-long practice. Iannone, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1933, started painting in the late 1950s. She has developed a practice so idiosyncratic that most people have a difficult time describing it. And, though it’s hard to imagine sexual content being problematic today, the reception of Iannone’s most iconic works over the past sixty years — depicting figures in rapture donning swollen genitalia — has ranged from scandalized and censored to just plain ignored. It has only been in the last decade or so, perhaps since her inclusion in a 2005 exhibition at the Tate Modern via the Wrong Gallery, which led to her inclusion in

the 2006 Whitney and Berlin Biennials, that Iannone has gained renown as an artist.