Ulrike Müller: Herstory Inventory

Published in 2014
Edited by Ulrike Müller, Karen Kelly, and Barbara Schröder
Design by Tiffany Malakooti
264 pages, 145 images, softcover, 8 ½ x 11 inches
ISBN 978-0-9853377-1-1


In 2007, Ulrike Müller found an inventory list describing a collection of feminist T-shirts at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Over the next few years, she selected and handed out descriptions to 100 artists, inviting them to retranslate the texts into drawings. The result, Herstory Inventory: 100 Feminist Drawings by 100 Artists (2009–2012), is a collaborative rethinking of feminist imagery that opens up a space for diverse expressions of political desire.


With A.K. Burns, A.L. Steiner, Adriana Minoliti, Alhena Katsof, Allyson Mitchell, Amy Linton, Amy Sillman, Anni Viinikainen, B.E. Wiest, Barbara Eichhorn, Carola Dertnig, Carrie Yamaoka, Cauleen Smith, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Chitra Ganesh, Chris Castillo, Cristina G. Barrio, Dawn Kasper, Dean Daderko, Edie Fake, Elke Krystufek, Emily Roysdon, Erika Vogt, Faith Wilding, Fiona Rukschcio, Fox Hysen, Gabriela Santiago, Georgia Sydney Lassner, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Dana Bishop-Root, Gregg Bordowitz, Guadalupe Rosales, Hans Scheirl, Iris Andraschek, Jamie Chan, JD Samson, Jennifer Montgomery, Jibz Cameron, Jocelyn Davis, Johanna & Mona Gustavsson, Johanna Kirsch, Jonah Groeneboer, Joy Episalla, Julie Evanoff, K8 Hardy, Kate Huh, Katherine Hubbard, Kathleen Hanna, Keltie Ferris, Kim Kelly, Lee Maida, Lee Relvas, Leidy Churchman, Leigh Ruple, Lily Benson, Linda Bilda, Linda Stillman, Lisa Ulik, Louise Fishman, Lovett & Codagnone, Lucy Dodd, Malin Arnell, Marget Long, Maria Gafarova, Mariah Garnett, Marie-Thérèse Escribano, Marlene McCarty, Math Bass, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Michaela Mélian, Michele Araujo, Michelle Dizon, Mitra Wakil, Monica Jane Peck, Moyra Davey, MPA, Myriam Lanau, Nancy Brooks Brody, Nicole Eisenman, Onya Hogan-Finlay, Pam Lins, Patricia Reschenbach, R.H. Quaytman, Ricarda Denzer, Robert Bordo, Robin Hustle, Sadie Benning, Sam Miller, Samara Davis, Shelly Silver, Simone Bader, Sowon Kwon, Tara Mateik, Taylor Davis, Terrilynn Quick, Therese Roth, Travis Boyer, Wolfgang Mayer, Wynne Greenwood, Xylor Jane, and Zoe Leonard.

Praise and Press

There are numerous pleasures in encountering Herstory Inventory, a project initiated and organized by the artist Ulrike Müller, not least of which include a collection of 100 drawings by artists whom I love and admire.

An elegant procedure motivates the project, where Müller has taken existing descriptions of t-shirts from a queer-feminist archive in Brooklyn, the Lesbian Herstory Archives (1974–present), and prompted friends and acquaintances to reproduce imagery from the t-shirts without their having seen them, based solely on an archivist’s descriptions.

Prompting participants in this way, Müller achieves a historical revision (or delay) whereby one can visualize changes in queer-feminist cultural representation. Separating language from image enables the group and the individual to project, thereby recreating an existing iconography within the present. In one drawing, a triangle breaks apart, as if to symbolize difference and dissent within community dynamics. In another, a hot pink Bart Simpson with a “Silence = Death” t-shirt and zone-out eyes gives the peace sign. Some images are more abstract and would seem to have little to do with queer-feminist representational practices: A rat sipping from a glass of champagne. A Sol LeWitt-like grid. A crescent moon over . . . is that a vagina or the ocean?

This book is fascinating, too, for the way it frames a process of community dialogue through the provision of Müller’s correspondence with participants between 2009–2013.

Through email (and face-to-face meetings) Müller negotiates the roles her interlocutors will play for each other: from the production of the drawings, to their exhibition in various galleries and museums, to their compilation in the book. One of the more poignant questions concerns authorship: To what extent may the project be considered Müller’s “work”? (It may strike one as curious that her name does not appear on the cover or spine of the book.)

Deliberately hashing-out the language of press releases and exhibition abstracts, Müller intends Herstory Inventory through a consensual process. What we get is a portrait of a particular community—of queer-feminists—as it is constituted through a network. What we also get is a vital document of care and mutual regard, friendship and affection.

—Thom Donovan, Bomb Magazine

Following several museum presentations, the project’s most recent iteration engages the format of the book as its venue. The publication is edited by Barbara Schroeder, Karen Kelly, and Ulrike Müller, and designed by Tiffany Malakooti. Together they lovingly transposed Herstory Inventory onto 272 printed pages. In addition to color reproductions of the full inventory, the book includes a narrative chronology of the project, edited from Ulrike’s email correspondence with the participating artists and others involved. The Herstory Inventory publication aims to present an archive and a model, but most of all it intends to further present to you what has been a snowballing fun- and thought-provoking collaborative endeavor. 


Please follow us on social media if you are interested in hearing more about our projects, or email us.

Sign Up for Our Mailing List

    Dancing Foxes Press16 Lefferts PlaceBrooklyn, NY 11238

    Privacy Preference Center