Monday, November 2, 2009

Woman as Sculpture

Sculpture is too often seen as macho man's work, yet there has always been talented sculptors who happen to be women.

Two articles in New York Times style magazine epitomize the dichotomy.

The first article is by Pilar Viladas, is about Woman as Object. (Not Again!)
Stephen Bayley, the English critic, has a new book, "Woman as Design: Before, Behind, Between, Above, Below"

He states "How on earth could you design such a thing, so flawlessly functional while infinitely beguiling too?" ( He sounds like Professor Harry Higgins from My Fair Lady.) Borders Books :"Description: A completely original reappraisal of that most familiar, yet mysterious, of things, the female body."

(Why does this make me want to scream "Who? not What!")

Bayley created design briefs for various areas of the female body. The breasts are "self sealing nutritional resevoirs allowing flexibel responses to unpredictable demand cycles," the subsidiary purpose include being "tactile objects exciting powerful, if confused, urges in Males." Bayley says "In any given age, the ideal woman is the embodiment of (Male) ideals and fears."

I find this utterly boring because Mr. Bayley, like so many men isn't remotely interested in Who is in that female body. All the attention is focused on the package. Zero interest in content.

Which is perfectly illustrated by the Dolce & Gabbana ad (photo above) also in the NYT's style magazine. It's very seductive. Scarlett Johansson appears to be channeling Madonna, who was evoking Marilyn Monroe, who was lit like Marlene Dietrich, who was citing Jean Harlow. Throw in some Cindy Sherman and you have an icon of desire made of smoke and mirrors fogged up by collective heavy breathing.

"Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda... and woke up with me." Rita Hayworth

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