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Abstraction and Its Capacities

David Getsy, Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History and chair, department of art history, theory, and criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. To celebrate the publication of Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender, David Getsy presented a lecture at the National Gallery of Art on October 25, 2015. The book examines abstract sculpture in the 1960s that came to propose unconventional and open accounts of bodies, persons, and genders. Drawing on transgender and queer theory, Getsy offers innovative and archivally rich new interpretations of artworks by, and critical writing about, four major artists—Dan Flavin (1933–1996), Nancy Grossman (b. 1940), John Chamberlain (1927–2011), and David Smith (1906–1965). Abstract Bodies makes a case for abstraction as a resource in reconsidering gender’s multiple capacities and offers an ambitious contribution to this burgeoning interdisciplinary field.