“The Double Standard runs speedily, breathlessly, its art of breaking the self to pieces, abruptly, in its relentlessness. It is absolutely remarkable.” –Helene Cixous
The Double Standard is an anticlimactic illustrated novella somewhere between fiction and creative nonfiction. The style is experimental and deadpan, with equal parts humor, pathos, and rage. A fair amount of sex and drugs are involved, with downtown New York City as a backdrop—but it’s more discursive than erotic. Written in a parallel construction, two voices overlap and personal history conspires to repeat itself, déjà vu-style: a West Virginia teenage hippie chick in the ‘70s (sourced from Burkhart’s actual diaries); and a thirty-something artist in the '80s, who leaves her junkie boyfriend after having an affair at an art colony. This is, however, merely set and setting for the real subject of the book, a self-reflexive analysis of the repetition compulsion.
Dudes is a companion to Kathe Burkhart’s previously published The Double Standard (2005, Participant Press). Divided into three sections—Mountain Men, Sensitive Artists, and Perverts—Dudes is an unsentimental journey through one gender non-conforming woman’s sexual and cultural underground from West Virginia to New York City to Amsterdam. It’s chick lit from hell—from dirty old men to dominant women, from meeting Diane Arbus as a child at a small town carnival and refusing to be photographed, to fluffing for art. Dudes contains illustrations and 15 autobiographical stories written by the artist.
PARTICIPANT PRESS is the publishing enterprise of PARTICIPANT INC. The primary focus of the press is to publish artists’ works of fiction. The first publication produced by PARTICIPANT PRESS was Kathe Burkhart’s illustrated novella, The Double Standard, in 2005. In addition to works of fiction, PARTICIPANT PRESS publishes anthologies of critical writing that document the interdisciplinary programming of PARTICIPANT INC.
This box set contains both The Double Standard and Dudes. Kathe Burkhart is an interdisciplinary artist, painter, writer and art critic from West Virginia. Her work combines collage, digital media, drawing, fiction, installation, nonfiction, painting, photography video, poetry, and sculpture. Burkhart’s work has been shown at MoMA PS1, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Venice Biennale.