Free book: In Visible Archives. Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s

By Margaret Galvan

In 1982, the protests of antiporn feminists sparked the censorship of the Diary of a Conference on Sexuality, a radical and sexually evocative image-text volume whose silencing became a symbol for the irresolvable feminist sex wars. In Visible Archives documents the community networks that produced this resonant artifact and others, analyzing how visual culture provided a vital space for women artists to theorize and visualize their own bodies and sexualities.

Margaret Galvan explores a number of feminist and cultural touchstones—the feminist sex wars, the HIV/AIDS crisis, the women in print movement, and countercultural grassroots periodical networks—and examines how visual culture interacts with these pivotal moments. She goes deep into the records to bring together a decade’s worth of research in grassroots and university archives that include comics, collages, photographs, drawings, and other image-text media produced by women, including Hannah Alderfer, Beth Jaker, Marybeth Nelson, Roberta Gregory, Lee Marrs, Alison Bechdel, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Nan Goldin.

The art highlighted in In Visible Archives demonstrates how women represented their bodies and sexualities on their own terms and created visibility for new, diverse identities, thus serving as blueprints for future activism and advocacy—work that is urgent now more than ever as LGBTQ+ and women’s rights face challenges and restrictions across the nation.

Read here for free.