Richard Meyer

Richard Meyer is Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University. He is author of Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art and What Was Contemporary Art? (MIT Press) as well as coeditor, with Catherine Lord, of Art and Queer Culture, and coauthor, with Peggy Phelan, of Contact Warhol: Photography without End.

  • Master of the Two Left Feet

    Master of the Two Left Feet

    Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered

    Richard Meyer

    An account of the life and work of a once-famous self-taught American artist of the 1940s, and a study of how artists go missing from public memory.

    A garment worker and slipper manufacturer with no training in art, Morris Hirshfield was never expected to make history. Against all odds, his wildly stylized paintings of female figures, often nude, animals, and landscapes became internationally known in the 1940s. Admired by Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and the French surrealists, his peak moment of visibility occurred in 1943, when the Museum of Modern Art mounted a one-man show of his work. The exhibition was widely reviewed—though mostly reviled—by the press, who jeeringly crowned Hirshfield “Master of the Two Left Feet” for his tendency to display the female body in that unorthodox fashion.

    After the artist's death in 1946, his work was largely forgotten, but in Master of the Two Left Feet, art historian Richard Meyer rediscovers Hirshfield for twenty-first-century audiences, offering full-color reproductions that capture the vibrant imagination and sheer visual pleasure of Hirshfield's paintings. The book also features a catalog of works compiled by curator Susan Davidson which provides the most comprehensive documentation of the artist's work ever assembled.

    Ten years in the making, Master of the Two Left Feet presents Hirshfield's unlikely career as a painter not only as a missing episode in the history of twentieth-century art but as a case study of the ways in which artists go missing from historical knowledge and public memory. By looking closely at Hirshfield and his milieu in 1940s Brooklyn, Meyer demonstrates how much we have yet to learn, and to see, of the visual past.

    The book accompanies the exhibition “Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered,” at the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, September 22, 2022–January 27, 2023.

    • Hardcover $59.95
  • Contact Warhol

    Contact Warhol

    Photography Without End

    Peggy Phelan and Richard Meyer

    Andy Warhol's daily practice of photography during the last decade of his life, examined and documented for the first time.

    “A picture means I know where I was every minute. That's why I take pictures.”—Andy Warhol

    From 1976 until his death in 1987, Andy Warhol was never without his camera. He snapped photos at discos, dinner parties, flea markets, and wrestling matches. Friends, boyfriends, business associates, socialites, celebrities, passers by: all captured Warhol's attention—at least for the moment he looked through the lens. In a way, Warhol's daily photography practice anticipated our current smart phone habits—our need to record our friends, our families, and our food. Warhol printed only about 17 percent of the 130,000 exposures he left on contact sheets. In 2014, Stanford's Cantor Center for the Arts acquired the 3,600 contact sheets from the Warhol Foundation. This book examines and documents for the first time these contact sheets and photographs—Warhol's final body of work

    Peggy Phelan and Richard Meyer analyze the contact sheets, never before seen, and their importance in Warhol's oeuvre. Accompanying their text and other essays are reproductions of contact sheets, photographs, and other visual material. The contact sheets present Warhol's point of view, unedited; we know where he was every minute because a photograph remembers it.

    Copublished with the Cantor Arts Center

    • Hardcover $34.95
  • What Was Contemporary Art?

    What Was Contemporary Art?

    Richard Meyer

    Not only does contemporary art have a history, but all works of art were once contemporary to the artist and culture that produced them.

    Contemporary art in the early twenty-first century is often discussed as if the very idea of art that is contemporary is new. Yet all works of art were once contemporary. In What Was Contemporary Art? Richard Meyer reclaims the contemporary from historical amnesia, and gives the contemporary its own art history. By exploring episodes in the study, exhibition, and reception of early twentieth-century art and visual culture, Meyer retrieves moments in the history of once-current art and redefines “the contemporary” as a condition of being alive to and alongside other moments, artists, and objects.

    A generous selection of images, many in color—from works of fine art to museum brochures and magazine covers—support and extend Meyer's narrative. These works were contemporary to their own moment. Now, in Meyer's account, they become contemporary to ours as well.

    • Hardcover $19.95
    • Paperback $30.95

Contributor

  • WACK!

    WACK!

    Art and the Feminist Revolution

    Cornelia Butler and Lisa Gabrielle Mark

    Groundbreaking art from a revolutionary era, featuring work by more than 120 international artists, from Louise Bourgeois and Yoko Ono to Martha Rosler, Marina Abramović, and Cindy Sherman.

    There had never been art like the art produced by women artists in the 1970s, and there has never been a book with the ambition and scope of this one about that groundbreaking era. WACK! documents and illustrates the impact of the feminist revolution on art made between 1965 and 1980, featuring pioneering and influential works by artists who came of age during that period, Chantal Akerman, Lynda Benglis, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Valie Export, Mary Heilmann, Sanja Iveković, Ana Mendieta, Annette Messager, and others, as well as important works made in those years by artists whose careers were already well established, including Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Lucy Lippard, Alice Neel, and Yoko Ono.

    The art surveyed in WACK! includes work by more than 120 artists, in all media, from painting and sculpture to photography, film, installation, and video, arranged not by chronology but by theme: Abstraction, "Autophotography," Body as Medium, Family Stories, Gender Performance, Knowledge as Power, Making Art History, and others. WACK!, which accompanies the first international museum exhibition to showcase feminist art from this revolutionary era, contains more than 400 color images. Highlights include the figurative paintings of Joan Semmel; the performance and film collaborations of Sally Potter and Rose English; the untitled film stills of Cindy Sherman; and the large-scale, craft-based sculptures of Magdalena Abakanowicz.

    Written entries on each artist offer key biographical and descriptive information and accompanying essays by leading critics, art historians, and scholars offer new perspectives on feminist art practice. The topics, including the relationship between American and European feminism, feminism and New York abstraction, and mapping a global feminism, provide a broad social context for the artworks themselves. WACK! is both a definitive visual record and a long-awaited history of one of the most important artistic movements of the twentieth century.

    Essays by:Cornelia Butler, Judith Russi Kirshner, Catherine Lord, Marsha Meskimmon, Richard Meyer, Helen Molesworth, Peggy Phelan, Nelly Richard, Valerie Smith, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Jenni Sorkin

    Artists include:Marina Abramović, Chantal Akerman, Lynda Benglis, Dara Birnbaum, Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Lygia Clark, Jay DeFeo, Mary Beth Edelson, Valie Export, Barbara Hammer, Susan Hiller, Joan Jonas, Mary Kelly, Maria Lassnig, Linda Montano, Alice Neel, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O'Grady, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Orlan, Howardena Pindell, Yvonne Rainer, Faith Ringgold, Ketty La Rocca, Ulrike Rosenbach, Martha Rosler, Betye Saar, Miriam Schapiro, Carolee Schneemann, Cindy Sherman, Hannah Wilke

    • Hardcover $62.95