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Frueh, Joanna 1948-

Frueh, Joanna 1948-


Born January 18, 1948, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Erne Renee and Florence (Pass) Frueh. Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., 1970; University of Chicago, M.A., 1971, Ph.D., 1981. Hobbies and other interests: Bodybuilding, yoga, gardening.


Home—965 Gear St., Reno, NV 89503. Office—Department of Art/224, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV 89557-0007. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]


Educator, artist, performance artist, writer. Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, assistant professor, 1981-83; University of Arizona, Tucson, assistant professor, 1983-85; University of Nevada, Reno, assistant professor, 1990-91, associate professor, 1992-96; professor of art history, 1997—. Creator of numerous performance pieces, 1979—, including Ambrosia, The Performance of Pink, Beauty Loves Company, The Aesthetics of Orgasm, Voyaging to Cythera, The Sake of Angels, The Amorous Stepmother, Vaginal Aesthetics, The Real Nude, Dressing Aphrodite, Erotic Faculties, Mouth Piece, Faculties of Love, Amazing Grace, Duel/Duet, Jeez Louise, Solar Shores, and Justifiable Anger, among others. Panelist and/or moderator for numerous conferences and professional meetings. Curator of exhibitions. Exhibitions: "Joanna Frueh: A Retrospective," Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, 2005.


College Art Association.


Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology, 1989; Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award (runner-up), College of Arts and Science, University of Nevada, 1993; Susan Koppelman Award, 2001, for Picturing the Modern Amazon; Nevada Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Literary Arts for Nonfiction, 2001.


(Editor, with others) Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology, UMI Research Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1988.

(Contributor of essay) Hannah Wilke, Hannah Wilke: A Retrospective, edited by Thomas H. Kochheiser, University of Missouri Press (Columbus, MO), 1989.

(Editor, with others) New Feminist Criticism: Art, Identity, Action, IconEditions (New York, NY), 1994.

Erotic Faculties, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.

(Editor, with others) Picturing the Modern Amazon, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 2000.

Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2001.

Joanna Frueh: A Retrospective, edited by Tanya Augsburg, Nevada Museum of Art (Reno, NV), 2005.

Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure University of Nevada Press (Reno, NV), 2006.

Clairvoyance (For Those in the Desert): Poetry and Prose 1979-2004, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2007.

Contributor of articles to numerous journals, including Art Journal, New Art Examiner, Feminist Art Journal, and Artforum; contributor of essays and chapters to numerous books. Executive editor, www.theworldofyes, 2005.


Joanna Frueh is a professor of art history as well as a writer and performance artist. Many of her performance pieces as well as her books deal with women's sexuality and sensuality. In Erotic Faculties, for example, she attempts, as a Publishers Weekly reviewer put it, to "unite academic writing and Eros," which is "a well-conceived, even brave proposition." However, the same reviewer felt the resulting essays did not "deliver," in part because they were too "self-absorbed." A more positive critical evaluation was offered by Matthew Link in the Advocate for Frueh's year 2000 book, Picturing the Modern Amazon, an "eye-popping look at the muscular female form." In this work, Frueh presents a visual record of strong women over the past two centuries, from circus performers to bodybuilders and Wonder Woman.

In her 2006 title Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure, Frueh offers an unconventional memoir, a work of self-healing inspired by the near-simultaneous loss of both parents, through death, and her husband, through divorce. She blends chronology and flashback to give episodic glimpses at her life and passions. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that Frueh has "a lot to say about her own sexuality," including accounts of childhood self-pleasuring and of seeing her parents make love. However, the same contributor felt the memoir was "too narcissistic for most readers." Higher praise came from Booklist contributor Whitney Scott, who found Swooning Beauty a "densely written, complexly textured, and sensual account."



Frueh, Joanna, Joanna Frueh: A Retrospective, edited by Tanya Augsburg, Nevada Museum of Art (Reno, NV), 2005.

Frueh, Joanna, Swooning Beauty: A Memoir of Pleasure, University of Nevada Press (Reno, NV), 2006.


Advocate, November 21, 2000, Matthew Link, review of Picturing the Modern Amazon, p. 66.

Booklist, Whitney Scott, review of Swooning Beauty, p. 9.

Publishers Weekly, May 6, 1996, review of Erotic Faculties, p. 74; January 30, 2006, review of Swooning Beauty, p. 58.


Joanna Frueh Home Page, http://www/ (July 7, 2006).

University of Nevada, Reno, Web site, (July 7, 2006), "Joanna Frueh, Professor, Art History."

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