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Book: The surrealist self-portraits of Francesca Woodman

December 7, 2011 | 11:20 am

Francesca Woodman, Self-portrait talking to Vince, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975–78

"Francesca Woodman," edited by Corey Keller, with essays by Jennifer Blessing and Julia Bryan-Wilson

SFMOMA and D.A.P., $49.95

Would photographs by Francesca Woodman, most notably her nude self-portraits that walk the line between powerful and vulnerable -- pack the same punch if you did not know about her suicide in 1981 at the age of 22? That question is hard to avoid when looking at the beautiful new book published by SFMOMA on the occasion of the museum's current Woodman survey -- her most ambitious retrospective to date. But by publishing an unprecedented number of pictures by the artist in roughly chronological order without interceding commentary, this book gives readers at least a fighting chance to see the images in themselves: Surrealist-laced self-portraits that explore sexual identity as much as mortality and together represent a young artist's coming of age.

--Jori Finkel

www.twitter.com/jorifinkel

Image: Francesca Woodman, Self-portrait talking to Vince, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975–78; gelatin silver print; 5 1/8 x 5 1/16 in. (13 x 12.9 cm); courtesy George and Betty Woodman; © George and Betty Woodman.

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