Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-10-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

'The New York Journalism of Djuna Barnes'
ART REVIEW: BROOKLYN MUSEUM
by Kelsy Chauvin
2012-03-28

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Djuna Barnes ( 1892—1982 ) was just 21 when she marched into the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and declared, "I can draw and write and you'd be foolish not to hire me." Her statement says much about this brassy "modern" woman. She was so far ahead of her time in terms of moxie and self-sufficiency, her early work is considered "proto-feminist"—since feminism as the equal-rights movement we know today did not yet exist. Rather, most forward-thinking women and men of the 1910s were focused on suffrage, which culminated with the 19th Amendment in 1919.

Uniquely audacious, Barnes had such daring she likely would stand out no matter what era she lived in, and no matter which gender. To showcase some of her innovative early writing and illustrations, the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art has installed Newspaper Fiction: The New York Journalism of Djuna Barnes, 1913—1919, in its always illuminating Herstory Gallery.

The admittedly modest exhibit packs a punch, composed of the potency of Barnes' early work. In just six years of journalism displayed here, it's clear that she was eager to perform dangerous feats for the sake of an exciting news report in one of several publications she wrote for. Whether that meant letting a firefighter "save" her from a rooftop by descending with only a rope around her waist ( part of her "My Adventures Being Rescued" series ) , or being tied to a gurney for the story of "How It Feels to Be Forcibly Fed"—in response to British authorities' tactic on imprisoned, hunger-striking suffragists.

However, it wasn't just a dramatic article Barnes was after. As an intrepid reporter, she sought the subjective view. It meant putting herself in the shoes of those she wrote about—contrary to the "just the facts" journalism of her peers. This approach allowed her creativity to emerge in tandem with her feminist voice. "Politics Through Personalization" is how the exhibit explains her early journalism. It was through her trademark first-hand experiences and reports that Barnes spotlighted political disparities and untold truths.

Writing wasn't her only forte. Since photojournalism would not become a newspaper staple until the 1920s, Barnes often included hand-drawn "snapshots" with her stories. Her figurative illustrations are pictorial representations of everyone from nightclub patrons and ladies who lunch, to soldiers and the homeless. She was as interested in high society as she was in bohemian artist circles and seedy downtown saloons. All of them made great subjects ( and surely were just as much fun ) .

Her visual art was influenced by art nouveau and Japanese woodblock styles, always in simple media like ink and watercolors. She embraced a modernist elegance in her drawings, earning her the covers of magazines like Vanity Fair, and the acclaim of her artistic peers.

It's clear that Barnes also was privileged to work with editors who appreciated her inventiveness. Her early columns quickly morphed into short fiction stories for the New York Morning Telegraph and other publications. Sackler Center curator Catherine J. Morris asserts that Barnes' early voice in these tales would evolve into her later writing style of "modernist narrative fragmentation," as seen in Nightwood ( 1936 ) , her most famous novel.

Barnes' personal history explains where some of her atypical sensibilities came from. She was raised in a non-traditional household even by today's standards. Her childhood home in Long Island, N.Y., included her eight siblings, both parents, her father's mistress and her paternal grandmother. Far from a conventional upbringing, she steadily grew more independent and her perspective more cynical. She moved to New York City and began to study art in her late teens. By 1915, she found an apartment in Greenwich Village and assumed the life of a writer.

Hers was a particularly long and colorful life. It included living through Paris in the 1920s and the Village thereafter. Enjoying a remarkable period of liberal sexuality, and the joys and heartbreaks of her own unabashed lesbian relationships. The Depression also took its toll, and Barnes would never go on to make a king's ransom for her significant contributions to the literary and artistic worlds. However, that's another story.

This exhibit of just 45 objects, while compact, reveals much about the worldly, modernist author and artist. Morris explained that it was Barnes' early training in newspaper fiction and experience with diverse networks of characters that "paved the way for the dramatic life and literary accomplishments that would follow."

For Barnes, to revel in one's own daring is a life worth sharing, and lucky for us, she shared it.

"Newspaper Fiction: The New York Journalism of Djuna Barnes, 1913—1919" will be on view through Aug. 19 at the Brooklyn Museum; call 718-638-5000 or visit www.brooklynmuseum.org .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago-made Signature Move returns to theaters this weekend 2017-10-20 - Chicago-made Signature Move will be back in theaters this weekend The made-in-Chicago-by-Chicagoans movie Signature Move returns for a limited engagement starting Friday, October ...


Gay News

Women's March on Chicago to return as 'March to the Polls' 2017-10-18 - Women's March on Chicago, the coalition behind the historic gathering of 250,000 women and their allies this past January, is setting Jan. 20, ...


Gay News

New Study: Attitudes toward gays, lesbians changing in developing world 2017-10-18 - Washington — Today, Center for Global Development Senior Fellow Charles Kenny and Researcher Dev Patel released a new studythat finds that just as ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2018 Ebonie Davis running for vacated state rep position 2017-10-18 - By Matt Simonette Ebonie Davis simply says that the reason she is deciding to run for the post of 25th District state ...


Gay News

Grand marshals named for Nov. 4 Pink Hat Run 2017-10-18 - CHICAGO—Illinois state Rep. Juliana Stratton ( D-5 ) and Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell ( D-3 ) have been named Grand Marshals for the ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW 'You're in the Wrong Bathroom!' And 20 Other Myths... 2017-10-17 - By Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD and Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R $16; Beacon Press; 182 pages In 2017, a book about ...


Gay News

BOOKS New collection shows spectrum of LGBTQ talent 2017-10-17 - When Kathleen Archambeau started planning out the collection of profiles that would become Pride and Joy: LGBTQ Artists, Icons, and Everyday Heroes, she ...


Gay News

Freelancers Anonymous LGBTQ comedy feature filmed in Chicago 2017-10-16 - Award-winning Spanish filmmaker Sonia Sebastian ( De Chica en Chica/Amazon ) teams up with Lisa Cordileone and playwright Amy Dellagiarino on Freelancers Anonymous, ...


Gay News

Annual Human Rights Campaign Chicago Gala to Honor Back Lot Bash Founders 2017-10-16 - CHICAGO, IL ( October 16, 2017 ) — The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Chicago Steering Committee announced today that Christina Roberts ...


Gay News

Dyke spaces exhibit debuts on National Coming Out Day 2017-10-14 - A rousing night of queer women comedy kicked off Howard Brown Health's "Lost & Found: An exhibit exploring Chicago's dyke spaces of the ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.