Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave

Texts by Cornelia H. Butler, Richard Shiff, Matthew Monahan, and Lisa Gabrielle Mark

In her expressionistic drawings and paintings of the last three decades, acclaimed South African artist Marlene Dumas has focused on the human figure, probing themes of love, desire, despair, and confusion in order to slyly critique social and political attitudes toward women, children, people of color, and others who have historically been victimized. From her evocative portraits, based on photographs of friends and family as well as figures culled from printed pornography, to her large-scale images highlighting charged relationships within groups, Dumas’s work explores the contradictions behind the physical reality of the body, merging acute social commentary with personal experience and art-historical antecedent to create unsettling and ambiguous psychological statements.

Accompanying Dumas’s first major mid-career survey in the U.S., with stops in three major American cities, this substantial, fully-illustrated publication features a newly commissioned essay by renowned scholar Richard Shiff, placing the artist’s work in relation to both American figurative painting since the 1980s and Abstract Expressionism. The book also includes curator Cornelia H. Butler’s examination of Dumas’s photographic sources and shorter texts by Lisa Gabrielle Mark and Matthew Monahan. Writings by the artist, as well as an extensive illustrated exhibition history and bibliography, complete this comprehensive examination of the work of one of the most thought-provoking artists working today.


Publisher: D.A.P. / Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Artists: Marlene Dumas

Contributors: Cornelia H. Butler, Lisa Gabrielle Mark, Matthew Monahan, Richard Shiff

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 12 in (24.8 x 30.5 cm)

Pages: 288

Reproductions: 200 color, 50 b&w

ISBN: 9781933751085

Retail: $55 US & Canada | £33 | €41

Status: Not Available

Marlene Dumas

Widely regarded as one of the most influential painters working today, Marlene Dumas has continuously explored the complex range of human emotions, often probing questions of gender, race, sexuality, and economic inequality. Through her focus on the human figure, Dumas merges socio-political themes with personal experience and art-historical antecedents to create a unique perspective on the most salient and controversial issues facing contemporary society. Her work consistently explores constructions of identity and the fluid distinctions between the public and the private.

All Marlene Dumas books