A feminist literary theorist, specialist in Rembrandt, and a scholar with a knack for reading Old Testament stories, Mieke Bal weaves a tapestry of signs and meanings that enrich our senses. Her subject is the act of showing, the gesture of exposing to view. In a museum, for example, the object is on display, made visually available. "That's how it is," the display proclaims. But who says so?
Bal's subjects are displays from the American Museum of Natural History, paintings by such figures as Courbet, Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Rembrandt, as well as works by twentieth-century artists, and such literary texts as Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece.