Vanessa Place

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Vanessa Place
Born (1968-05-10) May 10, 1968 (age 49)
United States
Occupation novelist, poet, lawyer
Nationality American
Notable works La Medusa, Tragodia
Website
epc.buffalo.edu/authors/place/index.html

Vanessa Place (born 1968) is an American writer and criminal appellate attorney. Place earned a BA at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MFA at Antioch University, and a JD at Boston University. She is the co-director of the Los Angeles-based Les Figues Press. Place has also worked as an occasional screenwriter on television shows such as Law and Order: SVU and Xena: Warrior Princess with producer Liz Friedman.[1]

Place is associated with the Conceptual Art[2] movement and has lectured and performed at events including at the Sorbonne in Paris, London's Whitechapel Gallery, and the Andre Bely Centre for Experimental Writing in St. Petersburg. In 2012, Place performed as part of the Whitney Biennial. In 2013, Place had her first solo art exhibition, The Lawyer is Present, at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art where she listened to confidential confessions from volunteers and then performed them for the public.

Place is CEO of VanessaPlace Inc., a poetry corporation, referred to as "a trans-national entity whose sole mission is to design and manufacture objects to meet the poetic needs of the human heart, face, and form." Its motto is "Poetry is a Kind of Money."

In her conceptual poetry, Place explores the impact of context and expectation.[3] In a 2010 interview for Lemon Hound, Place has quoted Marcel Duchamp, “It’s not what you see that is art, art is the gap.”[4] In a 2013 Tarpaulin Sky interview, Place stated, “The law, like poetry, engages in grossly overt fashion with the transformation of the real into the symbolic via a kind of Eucharistic metamorphosis. Worked, like some might argue the spiritus sanctus works, by way of words. Words, as many have noted, never quite fit. But they will do.”[5]

Critic Susan McCabe describes Place's poetry as “both humbling and beyond paraphrase, both mythic and contemporary.”[6]

Criticism[edit]

Place has received criticism for a Twitter art project where she retyped the entire text from the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind in an effort to call attention to the novel's inherent racism.[7] According to Place's own artist statement about the project:

While copies of Huckleberry Finn are routinely purged from public libraries based on its depiction of race, GWTW has not been subject to the same approbation. Gone With the Wind is a profoundly racist text. The book's true love story is not between Rhett and Scarlett but white America's affair with self, a self that can only exist through owning property as the primary means of white supremacy.[8]

The Twitter art project included a stereotypical African American mammy image as its banner. A film still of Hattie McDaniel as the character Mammy in the film version of the book is also used as the account's profile picture. While some have argued that the account was meant to scrutinize and call attention to stereotyping and racism in Gone With the Wind, others accused it of being racist or insensitive itself, which resulted in calls "for University of Colorado Boulder to remove her from her summer teaching appointment, . . . that she be dis-invited from [an] upcoming Berkeley Poetry Conference," as well as a petitioned for Place's removal from the 2016 Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference subcommittee.[9][10]

Subsequently, the Berkeley Poetry Conference was cancelled, AWP removed Place from the subcommittee to satisfy concerns from its membership, and the Whitney Museum of American Art cancelled a planned performance from Place.[11] Place herself has noted that the Twitter account was part of a larger project, Gone with the Wind by Vanessa Place, designed to implicate questions of copyright, the ownership of cultural fictions, the ongoing nature of the white imaginary, and the function of antagonism in social media.[12]

Works[edit]

  • Dies: A Sentence (Les Figues Press, 2005)
  • La Medusa (FC2, 2008)
  • Notes on Conceptualisms (Ugly Duckling Press, 2009), with Robert Fitterman
  • The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality and Law (Other Press, 2010)
  • Tragodía 1: Statement of Facts (Blanc Press, 2010)
  • Tragodía 2: Statement of The Case (Blanc Press, 2011)
  • Tragodía 3: Argument (Blanc Press, 2011)
  • Gone with the Wind (oodPress, 2011)
  • Factory Work (Factory Works, 2011)
  • ONE (Roof Books, 2012), with Blake Butler and Christopher Higgs
  • Boycott (Ugly Duckling Press, 2013)

Translations[edit]

  • Guantanamo (Les Figues Press, 2014), by Frank Smith

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vanessa Place". IMDB. Retrieved June 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ Craven, David. "Conceptual Art". Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ "Vanessa Place on Poetry Foundation"
  4. ^ Queyras, Sina. "How to do silence: a conversation with Vanessa Place". LEMON HOUND. Lemon Hound. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  5. ^ Nealand, Eireene. "Vanessa Place interviewed by Eireene Nealand". Tarpaulin Sky Press. Tarpauln Sky. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Vanessa Place on Poets.org"
  7. ^ Helmore, Edward. "Gone With the Wind tweeter says she is being shunned by US arts institutions". The Guardian. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Gone With The Wind @VanessaPlace"
  9. ^ Calder, Kim. "the Denunciation of Vanessa Place". Los Angeles Review of Books. Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  10. ^ Martelle, Scott. "Vanessa Place's 'Gone With the Wind' tweets: Artistic expression or racism?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Update Regarding the AWP Los Angeles 2016 Subcommittee"
  12. ^ Calder, Kim. "the Denunciation of Vanessa Place". Los Angeles Review of Books. Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]