Heartways - The Exploits of Genny O

Artistnovel 052

Erin Cosgrove Rita McBride

2004

Book, 11.7 x 17.3 cm, 155 p, language: English, publisher: Vancouver/New York: Arsenaladvance (Arsenal Pulp Press)/Whitney Museum of American Art/Printed Matter, Inc, ISBN: 1551521601.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2024/829).

Literary synopsis

A sexy artist is the protagonist of thirteen scenarios set in airports and train stations. Her goal is to seduce and be seduced in the midst of her art. Its combination of soft-core pornography, nomadic mobility, and art easily grasped by the public touches on the chief stereotypes of the art market of the ‘90s. Heartways is the turgid, winsome tale of Genny O, a youthful innocent who is fated to everlasting virginity. Despite all efforts to the contrary, each deflowering is her first time. With both drama and humor, we encounter Genny O as she tries to find what she is lacking in the arms of her artist object of desire. Heartways is the brain child of internationally acclaimed artist Rita McBride. Emulating a novel, each chapter is written by a different contributor (John Baldessari, Erin Cosgrove, Douglas Coupland, Fabio, Michele Hierholzer, Rita McBride, Jennifer Nelson, Cate Rimmer, Joe Scanlan, Kimberly Sexton, Kathy Slade and Michael Turner), all of whom create romantic tableaux that simultaneously work within and outside literary conventions. This book is the first of a planned four-volume series, each book steeped in a particular genre and making use of a collective structure.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

The novel Heartways also functions as an exhibition catalog for Naked Came the Stranger, Rita McBride’s exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein –therefore each chapter mentions some specific works of art. The result is a funny, tragic and poignant portrayal of desire, fantasy and frustration in the international art world. Each author was solicited with a letter of invitation to consider writing as Gina Ashcraft, the fictitious site specific installation artist. Each author was asked to write in the first person, begin and end each chapter with a coming and going of location, and to include sex. The exhibition’s title, Naked Came the Stranger, was taken from an extremely successful soft-core novel by an anonymous group of journalists at the end of the ‘60s.

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