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       Susan Angela Ann Harrison

       A.C. McWhortle
       A.S.A. Harrison

Susan Angela Ann Harrison (1948–2013) grew up in suburban North York (Canada), she grew into a tall, intensely bright, inquisitive young woman with a flare for rebellion. During her studies at Ontario College of Art, she joined Toronto’s vibrant avant-garde, then dominated by the artists’ collective General Idea, which adopted theatrical dress, pseudonyms and an ironic stance to lend the group’s subversive politics a playful edge.
       After two years of art school, Harrison quit, announcing her intention to become a writer. Her pen name, A.S.A. Harrison, was a riff on stuffiness, and masked her gender. With the artist AA Bronson she wrote a porn novel, ‘Lena’, under the name A.C. McWhortle; published in 1970, it was quickly banned.
       She married the video artist Rodney Werden and, armed with a reel-to-reel recorder, began interviewing women for her 1974 book ‘Orgasms’, a series that dealt frankly with women and sexual climax. Its cover, designed by AA Bronson, depicts the inner workings of the female sex; the back flap features a snapshot of someone other than Harrison, an inside joke but also part of a serious artistic project to make the ordinary strange. Another photo from the period shows the real Harrison as full-bodied, wearing a tuxedo, great owl glasses and the stern expression of a Dadaist prankster.

See also AA Bronson.

‘A.S.A. Harrison – The End’, Macleans, retrieved 10 October 2013

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