In her own words...



Mary Ann Caws:   My warmest thanks to Dorothea Tanning for her kindness in sending me, for this publication, the following statement which, as she says, defines her position.

If you lose a loved one does it matter if it is a brother or a sister? If you become a parent does it matter if it is to a boy or a girl? If you fall in love does it matter (to that love) if it is for a man or a woman? And if you pray does matter, God or Goddess?

During the spaces of time between great events, human beings have created their various cultures. They have learned to give breath to their life with art, to give (a kind of) hope to that life with science. Art, science. We are notoriously free to choose. If you consciously choose you may be said to win a battle against nothingness, a battle as momentous as anything in the mythologies of the world. But it is only the first battle. Like the phalanxes of an enemy, myriad assailants converge to bedevil your purpose and bewilder your vision. So, as someone, a human someone who has chosen art, the making of it, the dedication to it, the breathing of it, this artist has pursued with a high heart that great aim; and has utterly failed to understand the pigeonholing (or dove-coterie) of gender, convinced that it has nothing to do with qualifications or goals.

December 3, 1989



About this work

“Statement” was published in Surrealism and Women, Mary Ann Caws, Rudolf Kuenzli, and Gwen Raaberg, eds., Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1991, p. 228.