June 14th, 2013


Francesca Woodman

I recently saw a documentary about the artist Francesca Woodman, an artist who commit suicide in 1981 at the age of 22, but left behind a huge body of work that was ahead of its time.
During her short life she never achieved any success, which was a contributing factor to her depression and suicide. I wonder how her work was suddenly embraced by galleries, collectors, institutions, after her death. It makes me sad that people weren't able to appreciate her work until after she was gone. Why couldn't she have been recognized for the genius she was while still alive? There's got to be a decent biography out there I can read.

I found an article that expresses this same frustration here, and think this quote sums it up fairly well:

"it has historically been too easy to praise what is dead and too difficult to nurture what lives, and she is a problem because she is a martyr and ours is a culture addicted to martyrs and martyrology."

Here's the documentary, in case you'd like to watch (it's in English but has Spanish subtitles):