May 6, 2008

Joe Brainard: The Nancy Book

In celebration of The Nancy Book, published by the Siglio Press, Tibor de Nagy has organized a show of Joe Brainard's drawings of the Nancy cartoon character. Along with Brainard's poems and drawings, the book includes essays by poets Ron Padgett, who is also from Oklahoma and one of Brainard’s many friends, and Anne Lauterbach. At Artnet, N.F. Karlins reports that Brainard, who was gay, probably came to know the term "Nancy-boy" after moving to New York from Oklahoma . Both Nancy and 'pansy' were frequent motifs in his many collages and small drawings, transformed by him into terms of acceptance and endearment. (Many of his flower drawings remind me instantly of Fantin-Latour’s). 'If Nancy Was a Boy' shows a grinning Nancy lifting her skirt to show off her penis. 'If Nancy Was a Sailor’s Basket' has our heroine peeping from a sailor’s pants, the sailor being an appropriated photo shown without his head. Nancy smiles and waves. These works have such an insouciant charm, I suspect even the Pope would chuckle if he saw them."

"Joe Brainard: The Nancys," Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY. Through May 17.

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