Edited by Louise Downie
square 8vo. pp. 240. profusely illustrated in black & white. index. bds. dw. (head of spine & front lower left corner bumped, otherwise new). New York: Aperture in association with Jersey Heritage Trust, .
Best known for riveting photographic self-portraits that seem eerily ahead of their time, Claude Cahun (1894-1954) has attracted an almost cultlike following. Acting out diverse identities—both male and female—in scenes ranging from severely simple to elaborately staged, Cahun was a pioneer of the gender-bending role-playing now seen in works by artists such as Cindy Sherman (born the year Cahun died), Nikki S. Lee, and many others. Don't Kiss Me, the first comprehensive volume on Cahun, features many previously unpublished photographs and drawings, illuminating not only Cahun's work but also that of partner, Marcel Moore (1892-1972), and their intense forty-year collaboration.
An extraordinary couple who worked and lived together for more than forty years. Cahun (a pseudonym for Lucy Schwob) and Moore (Suzanne Malherbe) created images and writings of startling originality. Avid participants in the cultural avant-garde in Montparnasse during the 1920s and 30s, they ultimately moved to Jersey, in the Channel Islands (the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by the Germans during World War II).
In Don't Kiss Me, seven authors examine Cahun and Moore's lives and art-making; their relationship with the Surrealist movement; and give the first thorough account of the Resistance operations, trial, imprisonment, and attempted suicides of the two artists during the German Occupation of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, during World War II. The wealth of new material in this compelling survey makes it essential for all those with an interest in Cahun and Moore, photography, gender studies, or Surrealism.