Unconventional and distinctly “unladylike,” Bad Girls considers many issues and controversies raised by the recent exhibitions “Bad Girls” and “Bad Girls West,” mounted in New York and Los Angeles respectively. But the central issues it examines are humor, transgression, and the critical and constructive potential of laughter in the work of a new generation of Bad Girls. Humor is the connecting force between the 45 artists in “Bad Girls,” and it is clear that they express themselves in ways that their mothers probably would not have approved of. But they don’t care. Bad Girls addresses questions of gender, race, class, age, and sex by challenging conventional ideas about motherhood, food, fashion, beauty, work, marriage, and psychoanalysis. Using humor as a subversive weapon and having a field day with cosmetic aids and transgressive bodies, the artists in Bad Girls draw from the issues that concern artists like Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Hannah Wilke, and Cindy Sherman while taking these in new directions. In one of the book’s four essays, Marcia Tucker, founder and director of The New Museum of Contemporary Art, discusses the relationship between work centering on gender and feminist issues and the carnivalesque, the female/lesbian/cross-dressed body in relation to the “grotesque body,” mass culture and popular culture, and the evolution of a female comic sensibility. Marcia Tanner, independent curator for “Bad Girls West” in Los Angeles, focuses on foremothers who include Yoko Ono, Sherrie Levine, and Louise Bougeoise. Linda Goode Bryant, freelance writer and researcher, takes on the etymology of the world “bad” in black culture. And Cheryl Dunye, curator, lecturer, and self-described black lesbian bad girl filmmaker, addreses transgressive women’s videos.