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York academic wins prestigious book award

Posted on 12 October 2015

An art historian in the University of York’s Department of History of Art has been awarded the Suzanne and James Mellor Book Prize from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.

Dr Jo Applin

Dr Jo Applin, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art and current holder of a Philip Leverhulme Prize, won the award for her forthcoming book Not Working: Lee Lozano versus the Art World 1961-1971, published by Yale University Press.

The annual prize, worth $50,000, recognises distinguished scholarship on women artists and awards the best scholarly book on an individual woman artist or subject from any time period and country of origin.

Dr Applin is the previous author of two books, Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture in 1960s America (2012) and Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (2012).

In her latest book, Applin explores how American artist Lee Lozano engaged with and ultimately rejected the notion of ‘work’, ceasing to work entirely and drop out of the art world.

Dr Applin said: "I’m thrilled to have been awarded the Mellor Book Prize. Lozano's decision to go on general strike from the art world, to boycott other women, and in the end to  ‘drop out’ and stop working entirely, makes her an important figure through which to think about broader questions of feminism, participation, community, and the politics of work.

“It is my hope that this book will return to Lozano’s practice a sense of its complexity and seriousness, assuring for her work a pivotal role in debates about the role of women in the art world at that time."

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