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Rosanna McNamara leads the Kathy Acker Reading Group
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Courtesy TVRT Press/Printed Matter

The Kathy Acker Reading Group offers a social and intellectual space for deeper engagement with Acker’s novels. Led by writers, artists and academics directly and indirectly influenced by Kathy Acker’s work, the reading group follows the collective explorations of Acker’s texts undertaken by ICA staff in the course of planning I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker.

Each meeting involves close readings of Acker’s work through the intersecting lenses of identity, sexual desire, mythology, and the language of the body. These themes relate to salient ideas located in the eight text fragments around which the exhibition is structured.

The third reading group, led by artist Rosanna McNamara, examines The Adult Life of Toulouse Lautrec, considering how voice and appropriation relate to self-mythology and other forms of myth-making in Acker’s writing. The discussion will also draw on Acker’s essay 'Dead Doll Humility' (1990), written in response to efforts by Harold Robbins’ publisher to withdraw Acker’s compilation Young Lust from sale after a journalistic expose ‘revealed’ Acker's appropriation of sections of Robbins’ novel The Pirate (1974).

Those attending the reading group are asked to read ‘Dead Doll Humility’ and the following chapters from The Adult Life of Toulouse Lautrec in advance:

‘The Creation of the World’, pp. 226 – 250.

‘The Life of Johnny Rocco’, pp. 290 – 310.

Further reading (optional):

Hume, Kathryn. ‘Voice in Acker’s Fiction’. Contemporary Literature, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 485 – 513. 
Rosanna McNamara is an artist whose work centres around feminist theory and politics.
Free, booking required.

Accessibility Information:

If you tick, shout or move about you are welcome at this event. The space is wheelchair accessible. Doors will be left open so you will be able to leave and come back as and when needed. Please contact access@ica.art for any other access information or requirements.

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