Truth Lies is the second in an ongoing series of small volumes by Tania Love Abramson designed to explore the ambiguity of language, its effects on the individual, and on societies more holistically. Tragically personal, politically relevant, timeless at its core.
“Powerful indeed – the art & text resonate!” Keith Holyoak, Author of The Spiders Thread: Metaphor in Mind, Brain, and Poetry (MIT Press)
The Road Less Mistaken
Mary X rides again. A pin-up mom. Steadfast pursuit of the truth. Uncertainties that run deep. Over the top, and more.
I found [it] intriguing – my favorite on first pass is The Lester of Four Evils, which lives up to its title. Keith Holyoak, author of The Spider’s Web: Metaphor in Mind, Brain, and Poetry (MIT Press).
A compact work, dense with dark paths and gritty substance, words poking and prodding for a reader’s reflection, perhaps in a broken mirror. The mystery of Mary X makes us want to see her, know her. Who is she? This artist / writer pulls us into her psyche. Read this work and get one step closer to her. Then she will disappear. Ian Putnam, musician
The Sanctity of Rhyme
The Sanctity of Rhyme is a metamusical exegesis, in poetry and prose, of an Americana Desolation Punk Rock band, Crying 4 Kafka. Though band narratives generally follow a simple formula (e.g. unbridled sex, excessive drugs, trace elements of plot, etc.) this book is different. The Sanctity of Rhyme is a singular poetic vision that draws freely from the traditions of Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, B.H. Fairchild, Rimbaud, Anne Sexton, Jack Spicer and others, crafted with the cadence and manic energy of punk rock and slam poetry. Essays, fictive authors and conversations, lyrics, flyers, photos, drawings, and remnants of parental abuse populate the text. The Sanctity of Rhyme is ultimately a tribute to personal autonomy and artistic freedom.
I love the book and the art. I hope it becomes a cult classic! – Paul du Gre, Producer (Bad Religion, Los Lobos, etc) and Sound Engineer (X, etc)
Awesome, mind blowing, I can’t even talk about it. It’s REAL art. One of a kind. Mike Kresky, artist, field guide author, world class animal foot/footprint illustrator
Will this band ever find commercial success? Decades from now people will still be trying to figure these guys out. What we really need is a codebook. “The Sanctity of Rhyme” is a start – exhilarating and defiant – but as the reader will soon discover, we now need a codebook for the codebook. – Kathy “Hellflower” Ackerman, Music Executive, Bewildered Records
Nobody’s going to read this. Too challenging and subversive. That’s a pity. It’s fuckin’ dinamita, uncommonly thought-provoking and sublime. – W.H. Awesome, DJ, principal baritone El Gran Teatro de Marfa
The Rime of the Ancient Fish Wife
Mary X’s exactingly allusive rendering of Coleridge’s majestic poem, transmuted into a five-part diatribe, that includes, among other things, rumbling through the Book of Job, and ruminations about remorse, all pressed into service for excoriating a reprehensible deceased spouse. Illustrated with Mary X’s drawings, photographs, and a meandering letter.
Jumbled in the best possible way. Captivating and troubling too. – Seamus Higgins-Okafor, poet, author of the chapbook Elegies for Danny
Concern is Tania Love Abramson’s shrewdly crafted narrative, in photographs, poetic structure, and note, of the many nuances of concern. This is the first volume in a series tied loosely together by ambiguous words and experiences.
Simultaneously intense and vulnerable, Concern is reminiscent of the work of Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger. – Ian Putnam, musician and artist
This is not a zine, it is an art book. Keep it up! – Jacki Apple, multimedia artist, writer, and performance artist
Shame and the Eternal Abyss
In this uniquely captivating series of drawings, paintings, and commentary, visual artist Tania Love Abramson plumbs the depths of a chronic and debilitating psychological experience she calls the Abyss- an unfathomable chasm of desolation brought on by a profound sense of shame that materialized without obstruction after having been a victim of persistent sexual abuse as a young child. Tania Love Abramson’s art is her monument to healing, advocacy and prevention.
A powerful and moving account, visual and verbal, of the ravages of childhood abuse and of the journey of one who saw her way to a life beyond shame and the eternal abyss. Compelling art and poetry. – Elyn Saks, is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California. She is a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award recipient and the author of the award-winning autobiography The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.
I found it so moving that you created this body of work and shared your story. – Kathe Kollwitz for Guerrilla Girls.
Spectacular, profound, visual and verbal expression of the agony of childhood sexual victimization and the lifetime of suffering it can spawn. Yet through the art, we also see transcendence. – Joan Meier, J.D., Founder and Legal Director, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, and Professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C.
Thank you so much for sharing your work and your story. I salute you for having the courage and ability to create a way to help others through your art and your talks. – Jacki Apple, multimedia artist, writer and performance artist.
A mesmerizing piece of work, this unique book allows the reader to access a very subjective account of the everlasting double penalty faced by victims of sexual abuse. It also offers, almost unbeknowingly, a powerful gendered critique of victim shaming and blaming. Last but not least, it echoes our societies’ vast abysses created by the patriarchal blindness of law. Definitely a new addition to the ideal alternative reading list of critical criminal lawyers and legal scholars. – Dr. Bérénice K. Schramm, legal philosopher, Cédim, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM)
I really like your book. – Richard Ross, photographer and professor of art at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
To read this book is to experience the struggle to breathe in a world that demands victims’ silence. But in the very moment one feels overwhelmed, the words and art put human resilience on full display. – Meg Garvin, M.A., J.D., Executive Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute, and Clinical Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon
A powerful personal story of betrayal, the lasting damage it causes, and the struggle for recovery, told primarily through the author’s haunting artwork. No one can continue to look the other way when adults abuse children (or fail to protect them) after experiencing the impact through Tania Abramson’s eloquent rendition of pain. – Catherine Ross J.D., Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C.
Tania Love Abramson’s visual-verbal poem draws us in to dark places we hide from (because she learned not to hide from hers), not a pleasant path, but because she gets so far into those places we start to realize that we can move through them. The sequence of images and narration (of her history and experience, not simply of the drawings) eventually conveys progress, progression, even though without providing deliverance. The work is an arresting combination of accessibility, honesty-with-oneself, and courage-to-face. – Dr. Gregory A. Miller, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
Thanks for your work in this field. – Karen Finley, performance artist, poet, musician and professor of art, NYU.
Visceral, hypnotizing, corporeal, and courageous sketches of a dark world. Her voice is clear and embodied as it reverberates from the center of a spiraling chaos of shame. Respite is in the doing. – Bianca Sapetto, performer and choreographer, formerly of Cirque de Soliel and Teatro Zinzanni
Courageous and artful self-inquiry from a woman with a mission, making the invisible world of despair and shame visible. – Dr. Bernet Elzinga, Professor of Stress-Related Psychopathology, and co-founder of the Child Abuse and Neglect minor program, Leiden University
This is a remarkable book, well-nigh unclassifiable. In it the author opens up a fresh and demanding approach to sexual violence, pouring her wealth of experience into art. It is both helpful and hopeful! – Dr. Sólveig Anna Bóasdóttir, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, the University of Iceland
Through her eye-catching art work, Tania Abramson managed to express the impact of child sexual abuse as well as chances for reprocessing. This book goes beyond words and is an opportunity for both professionals and survivors to comprehend the dynamics of shame related to sexual abuse. – Dr. Iva Bicanic, clinical psychologist at the Sexual Violence Center at the University Medical Center Utrecht, and Head of the National Psychotrauma Center, the Netherlands
Very powerful artwork that helps others see and understand. – Dr. Lenneke Alink, Professor of Forensic Family Studies, and co-founder of the Child Abuse and Neglect minor program, Leiden University
In our culture, child sexual abuse thrives in the shadows of secrecy. This poignant, powerful, poetic expression of shame reveals an important truth: when we give voice to child sexual abuse, what other people witness is our courage. And when we are seen–truly, safely seen for the parts of ourselves that we love and the parts that hold the most pain–our shame can shift and we can see what other people see in us: bold, beautiful courage. – Kerry Naughton, Executive Director of Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service, Portland, Oregon
When one speaks of abuse and neglect, there is a knowing, and, at the same time, a parallel silence of unspoken knowledge. Words, ideas, thoughts, and emotions are shadowed in references, allusions, body codes, and eye gestures. Tania’s art has the ability to convey the hard and the soft, the seen and the known. The art is communicating nuances within itself and to the audience. Words disappear, and, like the rain that mutates the marks, the messages are conveyed from one to another…where healing begins: from the inside out. – Ellen e Baird, Professor of English, Copper Mountain College, and Editor, Howl Art & Literature Magazine, Joshua Tree, California
Screwing Around with Sex
This book explains the inexplicable: sexual assault on campus, affirmative consent, sexual violence against vulnerable populations, sexual rights, obscenity, and the three fundamental truths of sex. It is written by a UCLA Psychology Professor who spent 40 years as an expert witness in criminal, civil, and constitutionally relevant litigation, while simultaneously immersed in cutting edge sex research. The public policy perspective that accrued from all of that work is a significant part of this book as well. Screwing Around with Sex ends intriguingly with a chapter on music and love.
I have, at times, insisted that the lives of sex researchers are pretty boring. Paul Abramson’s collection of analytical essays, Screwing Around With Sex, reveals that this is not always the case. Drawing on personal experiences and preoccupations necessitated by decades of scholarly investigation of sexuality, Abramson highlights the uneasy and sometimes painful interface of sexuality with our current moral landscape. In doing so, he elucidates the contradictions and complexities of contemporary sexuality in ways that frustrate, challenge, and inspire us to question our preconceived notions of what sexuality is–or should be. – Dr. Terri Conley, Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
Rigorous but accessible, this tour of sexuality should be mandatory reading for us all. This work touches on current and important topics like consensual sex and preventing harm, so you cannot ignore it. – Lybi Ma, Deputy Editor, Psychology Today
The mix of compelling anecdotes with the process of grappling with moral/scientific issues is very compelling. Chapter 3 (On the Precipice of Porn) reminded me of David Foster Wallace’s book Considering the Lobster, in particular, Wallace’s first chapter on the adult video industry. – Dr. Keith Holyoak, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, UCLA and Editor of Psychological Review
I truly enjoyed this book, not only the content but also the tone. It was a genuine pleasure for me. – Dr. Alexsandar Stulhofer, Professor of Sociology, Head of Sexuality Unit, University of Zagreb
Professor Abramson has made issues that are difficult, ancient, and current accessible without oversimplifying, urgent policy challenges tractable, and profound experiences understandable. Over and over as you read, you think, ‘yes, we need to act.’ – Dr. Gregory A. Miller, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, UCLA
An idiosyncratic page turner of a personal and professional journey that brought Paul Abramson to the heart of some of the most interesting issues of sexuality and sexual abuse in the late twentieth century and – through his role as a psychology professor serving as an expert witness – to the back stage of some of the nation’s most important obscenity cases. Enjoyable and illuminating. – Catherine Ross, Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School
It’s Art if I Say it’s Art
It’s Art If I Say It’s Art (Volume 1) is an experimental zine showcasing a collection of self-portraits (mainly nude) by Ceelala shot on 35mm film.
It’s Art If I Say It’s Art is the perfect unapologetic self-portrait of a female artist who’s fed up with taking your shit. – Alexandra, Artist
The Saint of Fucked Up Karma
The title is not gratuitous. The play is based on a true story of a police officer caught in the act of raping a 13 year-old boy. In a pointless cascade of atrocities, the case gets worse. The play is told through three perspectives: the expert witness who participated in the ensuing civil litigation, his disaffected girlfriend, and a pithy commentator. Songs by the Americana Desolation Punk Rock band Crying 4 Kafka, emanate throughout. The Saint of Fucked-Up Karma was performed in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California in the summer of 2013.
Abramson is a National Treasure. – Drex Heikes, LA Weekly
In this Greek tragedy reinvented as an American rock musical, the shock of an original sin triggers waves of evil that batter human lives. Tossed by these turbulent waters, love, trust, and individual responsibility are nearly drowned but somehow – almost miraculously – manage to tread water still. – Keith Holyoak, author of The Gospel According to Judas
Abramson’s Saint is a striking work based closely on horrific real events he encountered as an expert witness. The narrative blends fully with the music, which in turn captures the energy and anguish of the story. – Gregory A. Miller, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, UCLA
Vast experience backs the authenticity behind the lurid subject matter and punk bravado. – Caitlin Kelley, The Independent