Widely recognized and admired in countercultural communities but overlooked by the mainstream for decades, Anna Banana has been fearlessly challenging convention as Town Fool and Doktor Anna Freud, producing parodic publications, creating and exchanging artist's stamps and other original artworks and staging banana-themed events that she documents for a network of like-minded artists around the world. It is this vibrant community of creative individuals that has both fueled her work and embraced it, and it is their long history of communicating by mail--welcoming anyone interested in participating--that has laid the groundwork for today's social media networks. Anna Banana is a compelling retrospective of the artist's work and her place in art history. Michelle Jacques traces Banana's evolution from Anne Long to conceptual artist Anna Banana and the breadth of her oeuvre. Craig Saper contemplates the paradox that an artist of her stature could remain virtually unkwn while subverting mainstream art and culture so relentlessly and so humorously for so long. Anne Thurmann-Jajes relates the value of the Banana Rag and other publications in publicizing the artist's actions and maintaining contact with other artists. And Edward M. Gomez highlights the importance of Banana's fun, frank and frequently experimental art in engaging new audiences and bridging the historic anti-art practices of Dada and Fluxus and today's contemporary practices. Like the artist herself, this remarkable book will enlighten, engage and surprise.
Michelle Jacques is a curator, educator and writer. She is currently the chief curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and has previously held positions in the contemporary and Canadian departments at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. She has taught art history, curatorial studies and art writing at the post-secondary level. Recent and forthcoming publications include Born in Detroit in Introducing Suzy Lake (ed. Georgiana Uhlyarik, Black Dog Publishing, 2014); And the winner is..., an analysis of Camille Turner's ongoing Miss Canadiana performance in Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices (ed. Marisa Jahn, YYZ Books, 2010); and The Artist-run Centre as Tactical Training Unit in decentre: concerning artist-run culture (YYZ Books, 2008).