Don’t Kiss Me

The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore


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Best known for riveting photographic self-portraits that seem eerily ahead of their time, Claude Cahun (1894-1954) has attracted an almost cultlike following. Acting out diverse identities—both male and female—in scenes ranging from severely simple to elaborately staged, Cahun was a pioneer of the gender-bending role-playing now seen in works by artists such as Cindy Sherman (born the year Cahun died), Nikki S. Lee, and many others. Don’t Kiss Me, the first comprehensive volume on Cahun, features many previously unpublished photographs and drawings, illuminating not only Cahun’s work but also that of partner, Marcel Moore (1892-1972), and their intense forty-year collaboration. In Don’t Kiss Me, seven authors examine Cahun and Moore’s lives and art-making; their relationship with the Surrealist movement; and give the first thorough account of the Resistance operations, trial, imprisonment, and attempted suicides of the two artists during the German Occupation of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, during World War II. The wealth of new material in this compelling survey makes it essential for all those with an interest in Cahun and Moore, photography, gender studies, or Surrealism.

Born in France, Lucy Schwob (pseudonym Claude Cahun) and Suzanne Malherbe (pseudonym Marcel Moore) met at school in their teens and became both lovers and collaborators, inseparable until Lucy’s death in 1954. Cahun is by far the better known of the two; this book establishes for the first time the extent of Moore’s contributions to the self-portraits. Their photographs, books, and documents were acquired by The Jersey Heritage Trust acquired the largest collection of their work in the world in the 1990s; this book is the first catalog of the collection.


Edited by Louise Downie
Essays by Katharine Conley, Gen Doy, Claire Follain, Tirza True Latimer, Jennifer Shaw, James Stevenson, and Krisine Von Oehsen
9 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches
240 pages
410 halftone images
Fall 2006

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