Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (United Kingdom)
Art History
"Sperm Bomb": Art, Feminism, and the American War in Vietnam

Mignon Nixon is a professor of art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She studies questions of subjectivity, sexuality, and politics. In her first book, Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois and a Story of Modern Art (MIT Press, 2005), Nixon focused on the taboo trends of maternal aggression and feminine eroticism in Bourgeois’s art, while also considering the interaction of art and psychoanalysis in cultural responses to the psychic devastation of World War II.

At Radcliffe, Nixon will return to the nexus of art, sex, and aggression with “‘Sperm Bomb’: Art, Feminism, and the US War in Vietnam.” Taking up newly pressing questions about what subjective art offers in a situation of war, the book considers such themes as war sexuality, the psychology of groups, maternal mourning, and fearful fantasies of “the other.” Nixon’s ongoing collaboration with the psychoanalyst Juliet Mitchell forms an integral part of the research. The project poses questions about art and war at a time when political discourse has become defined by the perceived power of images and about the stakes of an “image war,” a trend that finds antecedents in the Vietnam era.

Nixon received her PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1997. Her research has been supported by a Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship and a fellowship at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, and she was a Terra Foundation for American Art Senior Scholar in 2007. Nixon is a coeditor of October magazine.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo