Pauline Boty (1938-66) trained at the Royal College of Art and was a friend and colleague of David Hockney, Peter Blake and Derek Boshier with all of whom she exhibited. She was an innovative and talented artist and also a beautiful and hip player on the swinging London scene of the 60s. She was politically radical, had a prescient grasp of gender politics and produced a vibrant body of paintings and collages from a female perspective that enriches Pop, a genre that has been seen as male dominated.
Yet when she died, tragically young, from cancer in 1966 (aged only 28) she disappeared from cultural view for nearly 30 years.
This richly illustrated book is the first and much needed in-depth study of the artist, her life and works.
As a serious artist who refused to relinquish her right to a proactive sexuality her work both celebrates the pleasures that women find in popular culture and critiques the sexual politics of the time. She was very much part of the post war Cultural New Left and the Cuban Revolution, the assassination of Kennedy, the Vietnam war and so on are all referenced in her work – along with Elvis, Marilyn and Proust in a wonderful collapse of high into low culture.
However, Boty’s distinct voice, that adds new perspectives to our understanding of the 60s and of Pop, has, until recently, been marginalized in or excluded from both mainstream and feminist histories. The book unpicks the reasons for this cultural silencing. Then, in the context of postmodernism and developments in feminist thinking, it brings to light the very real relevance that Boty’s work and life have for current debates and concerns, speaking to a contemporary audience negotiating an ever more ‘pornified’ visual environment.
In the light of cuts in funding, the Wolverhampton Art Gallery has delegated distribution of this book to the author, Dr Sue Tate
It is available on Amazon and eBay.