Rachel Kushner Interview: On Art and Gender



“I’m not sure how much gender bias affects my life or not at this moment.” Rachel Kushner, author of the best-selling novel ‘The Flamethrowers’, here comments on gender imbalance in the art world, and what an intricate thing it can be.

When writing a novel, Kushner feels that she is in a mode where gender is more fluid: “… in that space my thought is less gendered. And so I am as much the men in my book as I am the women.” She does, however, acknowledge that men and women read ‘The Flamethrowers’ (2013) quite differently, and that whereas young women told her that the book spoke to their laments as women, male readers thought that it was about “motorcycles and velocity and industrial history and violence and war.”

“Artists, to their own discredit, tend to judge themselves by their success in the commercial realm.” Kushner knows many female artists who feel that they don’t earn as much as the male colleagues, and that most museum’s prefer the work of male artists. As a writer, however, Kushner considers herself lucky not to experience this sense of gender bias.

Rachel Kushner (b. 1968) is an American writer. Her debut novel ‘Telex from Cuba’ (2008) was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the winner of the California Book Award. Kushner’s 2013 novel ‘The Flamethrowers’ was also a finalist for the National Book Award that year. Among other places, her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and the Paris Review, and she is the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles. For more about her see: http://rachelkushner.com/

Rachel Kushner was interviewed by Michael Juul Holm? in connection to the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2015.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

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