Leslie Dick

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Leslie Dick (born 1954) is an American artist, writer, editor, and educator, based in Los Angeles. Her work explores feminist themes, especially in relation to queer theory and Lacanian discourse. Dick has published two novels, a collection of short stories, and several critical essays. She is a member of the editorial board of X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly, a Los Angeles-based, internationally distributed journal of art.[1] She has been faculty at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) since 1992, and is currently co-director of the CalArts Program in Art.[2] Since 2012 she has also held a position as a critic in the sculpture program at the Yale School of Art.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Leslie Dick was born in Boston in 1954. At the age of 10, she moved from New York to London, living there from 1965 to 1988.[4] She attended the University of Sussex and earned a BA in English Literature in 1977.[5]



Dick is the author of two novels: Without Falling (1987) and Kicking (1992). Without Falling has been described by Kathy Acker as "a real woman's romantic novel... written for the sake of truth"[6] and by Angela McRobbie as "an important book" that occupies a space "along the line between romance and sexuality".[7] Kicking, her second novel, follows a self-referential love triangle set in the 1980s art world in London and New York.[8][9] She has also published a collection of short stories, titled The Skull of Charlotte Corday and Other Stories (1997), which features stories with female protagonists.[10][11][12] Her story "Envy", part of Alison Fell's 1989 seven-author project The Seven Deadly Sins, was described by Carolyn Cooke in The Nation as one of the strongest stories in the collection, using "thoroughness to transcend the trite".[13]

Art criticism[edit]

Dick contributes regularly to X-Tra Arts Quarterly, among other journals. She contributed a chapter to a 2006 collection of criticism on Kathy Acker, titled Lust for Life.[14][15]

Collaborations with Martin Kersels[edit]

In 1999 Dick and Los Angeles-based artist Martin Kersels were jointly selected "to run the arts program at" CalArts.[16] Dick and Kersels have also collaborated on several projects. In 2008, Dick and Kersels exhibited the video Ripcord at ACME Gallery in Los Angeles.[17] For the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Dick presented a talk titled The Mirror Stage—a Multimedia Performance, as part of the performance series Live on 5 Songs, curated by Kersels.[18]

Sarah Thornton[edit]

Leslie Dick appears in Sarah Thornton's collection of art world reportage, titled Seven Days in the Art World.[19] Dick discusses her teaching philosophy in the context of a chapter on Michael Asher's "Post-Studio" critique class.[19]


  1. ^ "X-Tra Arts Quarterly Masthead". X-Tra. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  2. ^ "CalArts Faculty Directory".
  3. ^ Leslie Dick at Yale School of Art (accessed 2014-10-17).
  4. ^ Dixon, Terrell F., ed. (2002). City Wilds: Essays and Stories about Urban Nature. Athens: University of Georgia Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-8203-2350-3.
  5. ^ Dixon, Terrell (2002). City Wilds: Essays and Stories about Urban Nature. University of Georgia Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-0820323398.
  6. ^ Acker, Kathy. "Book Details". City Lights. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Leslie Dick and Angela McRobbie, in conversation" (June 30, 1987), British Library Sound Archive (audio).
  8. ^ "Kirkus Reviews: Kicking by Leslie Dick". KIRKUS. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  9. ^ Review: "Kicking", Publishers Weekly, January 1, 1993.
  10. ^ "Kirkus Reviews: The Skull of Charlotte Corday by Leslie Dick". KIRKUS. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  11. ^ Georgia Jones-Davis, "Freud & Feminism: Head Games; Leslie Dick's Fictional Forays Into the Life of the Mind", The Washington Post, January 7, 1998  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  12. ^ Review: "The Skull of Charlotte Corday: And Other Stories", Publishers Weekly, September 29, 1997.
  13. ^ Carolyn Cooke, Review: The Seven Deadly Sins, The Nation, January 22, 1990  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  14. ^ Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker. New York: Verso. 2006. ISBN 9781844670666.
  15. ^ Gary Indiana, "Ackerville" (review of Lust for Life), London Review of Books, December 14, 2006. ("Leslie Dick’s ‘17 Paragraphs on Kathy Acker’ is an affectionate, funny, moving series of verbal snapshots that make Acker more vividly present than the other essays manage.")
  16. ^ "Two New Directors Join CalArts' Staff", Los Angeles Daily News, September 17, 1999  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  17. ^ "'Ripcord' at ACME Gallery". ACME. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Live on 5 Songs: Leslie Dick". Whitney Museum of American Art. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  19. ^ a b Thornton, Sarah (2008). Seven Days in the Art World (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. pp. 41–74. ISBN 978-0393067224.

Further reading[edit]