Art. Rage. Us.: Art and Writing by Women with Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Fund, American Cancer Society

Primary Category: Literature / Literature

Genre: Anthology (Mixed Genres)

Annotated by:
Wear, Delese
  • Date of entry: Sep-22-1999
  • Last revised: Jun-15-2010


Art. Rage.Us. Is a powerful collection of works by more than 70 artists and writers with breast cancer whose creative impulse was to transform their illness into an artistic form not only as part of their own healing but also for others to learn from their experiences. The expressions are varied, from poetry recording the experience of breast imaging, breast reconstruction, or chemotherapy; to self-portraits after mastectomy; to a collage of conflicting research reports and alternative therapies; to short autobiographical prose pieces.


From Jill Eickenberry's introduction through Terry Tempest Williams's epilogue, this is a powerful collection of breast cancer narratives and visual images. Whether readers open the book randomly or start at the beginning, each page evokes a significant pause because each is a generous invitation into the private experience of breast cancer.

Many pieces are provocative and challenge our thinking: Matuschka 's self portrait with her mastectomy scar exposed on one side, the other covered with half of a sexy black corset; Diane Young's joyful photograph of seven shirtless women (all close friends) and a female child, one of them with a double mastectomy, entitled "One in Eight"; or Francoise and Denny Hultzapple's black and white photograph of their embrace, Denny's face nestled near her bared scar.

The collective is unabashedly political, a call to arms for better diagnostic techniques, more research on causes, and intensified searching for the cure. But it is also awash with vulnerability, frankness, joy, and sorrow. It is impossible to look at the naked body of Margaret Stanton Murray, five days after her mastectomy, draining tubes dangling from beneath the bandages, without returning again and again to her direct gaze into the camera of quiet determination.

Similarly, it is impossible not to smile at the print designed by four breast cancer patients, an ad for "Carcinoma Inn & Spa" that could appear in any women's magazine assaulting readers with promises of beauty and perfection. In short, Art. Rage. Us. is a stunning collection of breast cancer imagery that has powerful educative possibilities.


Introduction by Jill Eikenberry; Epilogue by Terry Tempest Williams.


Chronicle Books

Place Published

San Francisco




The Breast Cancer Fund, The American Cancer Society & The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

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