Susan Bee, "Design Elements in Nude Formalism and Fool's Gold": pdf from Talking the Boundless Book: Art, Language, and the Books Arts, ed. Charles Alexander (Minneapolis: Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1995) •••• pdf of The Nude Formalism (Sun & Moon, 1989) (recommended that you read pdf in facing pages, 2-up)
Susan Bee's paintings were discussed from the period between 1982 and 1983 in terms of the difficulties of getting this work shown. Griefen and Bee also discussed the formation of the feminist art movement in New York including at Barnard College and A.I.R. Gallery in the 1970s and 1980s. There were personal anecdotes about the struggle to be taken seriously by dealers. Also a discussion of the influence of the artists' parents, Miriam Laufer and Sigmund Laufer, who were also artists. The death of Miriam Laufer in 1980 was a turning point in Bee's evolution as a painter and marked a return to figurative painting from her work in abstract photography, photograms, and painting. Her work was also discussed in terms of the fusion of abstraction and figuration in these paintings. There was an examination of gender roles through a potent synthesis of competing modes of figurative representation and abstraction, along with provocative art historical and pop cultural allusions. For instance, "Portrait of the Artist as Young Pig" incorporates a trickster alter ego figure of the artist in the cartoon character of Petunia Pig. The fighter paintings were talked about as an examination of the struggle between women that characterized that phase of feminism. The painting, "Doomed to Win," which is based on a film still, alters the lead figure from a male boxer, to a possibly pregnant self-portrait of the painting. The issues and experiences that led to the creation of this body of work were discussed.
From 1980 to 1992, I worked extensively on most of the Roof and Segue Books produced during that period. I worked with the publisher James Sherry and the authors and the typesetters and cover artists. The work consisted of getting the manuscript from James and the authors, which was often very hard to procure, making sure it was proofed and edited and ready, then bringing it to Skeezo, the typesetters on 27th Street. They set the galleys on their machines. Then I’d come and pick up the Xeroxes of the galleys, proofread them, and then bring the galleys back for corrections with author’s corrections too. When the final galleys were ready. I would lay out the book by hand. I made an initial dummy for the book and then pasted up the final mechanical on boards with glue or wax. Often as in the case of Hannah Weiner’s and Bruce Andrews’ books, I would be moving around single words or letters or lines of type with an exacto knife to create shapes or odd spacing. The cover was also done by me, but with various artist’s works on them. Then the book would go to the printer and come back by US mail for blues. It was a lengthy and detailed process of production in those days without e-mail or computers to speed things along.