By: Liz Barr
Body Works considers the different ways we maintain and modify our bodies for the sake of either living up to or rejecting cultural standards. Which ways are visible, which are accessible, or necessary, or safe?
For the 4th edition Barr states:
In the three years since Body Works was first published, Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty with an unprecedented 50 shades of foundation, pushing its competitors to be more inclusive of darker skin tones; Kylie Jenner became the youngest “self-made” billionaire with her “lip kits,” which help her fans recreate the look of her famously medically-enhanced lips; and Kim Kardashian has come out with a line of body foundation and a line of shapewear, or as she calls it, “solutionwear.”
Three years after writing Body Works, I continue to ask myself the same questions. What do I want to look like and why? What work goes into maintaining my body on a daily basis? How does that work shape my body? What privileges have I been afforded based on the way my body looks, and what privileges, if any, have I been denied? What cultural forces shape my own perception of my body? What am I willing to risk for beauty?
– Liz Barr, 2019
The 21st Century has seen a huge expansion of the dialogue surrounding body image, in response to the use of exploitative tactics to demean women of color, women with unconventional body types, or otherwise non-ideal women through a white European perspective into buying expensive products that hide or change their natural features. While the demand to vilify these capitalistic ventures is ongoing, it is equally as important to value the use of makeup as a valid and successful expression of individuality — Liz Barr discusses the historicity of makeup, as well as its continuous presence in the forefront of socio-cultural expression and education through media such as plays, television, films and other dramatic articulations of the human condition. Body Works contains several visual examples of seminal works by feminist artists and photographers, each contributing a unique point of reference for Barr’s multi-faceted presentation on the corporeal, pop culture and performance.
- Review by Printed Matter
Printed by GenderFail
Perfect bound book 4th Edition, Risograph