I had these posts selected for last week and forgot to press the go button. I chose them because they seemed apt given what is happening in the world at large at the moment, and because they involve the Visual Arts. In various ways the blogs I’ve selected question issues around women’s bodies and sexuality, especially relating to the depiction of naked women in art and how this relates to matters of power, consent and censorship (individual and social).
The first post by Emily Blake Desexualise the female form addresses the sexualisation of the female body – including breasts [a big shout out to my old ‘friends’ at FB for perpetuating stereotypes and censoring women’s nipples!!!!] She compares two works of art and writes about the differences that the presentation of the female form makes in both cases, with regard to our perceptions of them as sexual objects or simply people who happen to be female.
Isabella Wright makes similar points comparing two sculptural versions of The Rape of Persephone, asking where do women want to see themselves in terms of gender relations in a 100 years time.
On his revised blog, The Joy of Kink Michael Samadhi brought my attention to matters of censorship and the nude woman, highlighting an extract from an article that deals with women’s emergent power in the early 20th century around the time of the First World War. Clicking on the link Michael provided took me to the original article by Jessica Lack for CNN. The article entitled Nude Art and Censorship Laid Bare talks about censorship in terms of women’s emergent power. However Lack also discusses ways in which some male artists achieved notoriety despite censorship, while later feminist artists, also censored by the establishment for exhibiting explicit nudes (male and female), were also downplayed or sidelined. [Slut-shaming anyone?]
Interestingly apart from the Modigliani works which featured in both Michael Samadhi and Jessica Lack’s articles, (there’s an exhibition on at the Tate) the only other images on show are well covered up. I thought you might be interested in following up the works of some of the other artists mentioned in the article but my search was also a bit revealing.
Joan’s earlier works included paintings made from images appropriated from porn showing couples engaging in sexual activity, as well as frank depictions of women’s bodies. Currently her work also addresses aging – one of my own concerns. But I also noted that she was running her own blog, presumably to avoid some of the pitfalls of internet censorship.
Egon Schiele I very familiar with Schiele’s work – the image at the top of this post is a drawing I did after Schiele back in my second year of art school. But I had to do a search on Pinterest using his name +masturbation as search terms as his erotic works were not easy to find on Google.
Betty Tompkins Photorealist works of sexual activity. Amazing works.
Dorothy Iannone This a link to a Guardian article from 2013 by Adrain Searle entitled ‘Dorothy Iannone: arts original bad girl’, which gives you some interesting goss about this artist born back in 1933, whose work is quite different to Tompkins.