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Margaret Bowland
Excerpts from the Great American Songbook

Greenville County Museum of Art
Essay by Siri Hustvedt

One artist's attempt to understand gender and race in the world around her

With an essay by Siri Hustvedt, Margaret Bowland: Excerpts from the Great American Songbook is the first publication devoted to Bowland's stunning and psychologically charged series of paintings focused on "JJ," a young African American girl, in whom the artist sees a metaphorical lightning rod for her own personal issues of gender, beauty, individuality, and race. For Bowland it is a steadfast journey of relentless self-awareness.

Her paintings are titled according to famous and beloved songs that, however delightful, always seem to be burdened with the dark shadow of sorrow. Provocative and inspiring, Bowland's paintings capture themes of internalized suffering, denial, and basic human frailty alongside powerful notions of affirmation, resilience, trust, and an intrinsic sense of beauty.

This volume surveys all of the paintings in Bowland's "JJ" series, most of which were completed between 2008 and 2011 but have never been shown publicly. This beautifully designed volume provides detailed descriptions of the artist's work, making it an essential book on gender, race, and contemporary art.

Siri Hustvedt is an internationally known novelist whose works have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Her first novel, The Blindfold, quickly found a worldwide audience, and her subsequent books include The Enchantment of Lily Dahl; the international bestseller What I Loved; The Sorrows of an American; her memoir The Shaking Woman, or, A History of My Nerves; and her most recent novel The Summer without Men. Hustvedt has also published numerous essays on artists including Johannes Vermeer, Richard Allen Morris, Kiki Smith, and Gerhard Richter.




(2012) 10 x 10 ½
64 pages
27 color illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9798450-4-8
hardcover, $29.95t
Distributed for the Greenville
County Museum of Art
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