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Lecture 007 - The Unerotic Nude.docx

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Department
Women's Studies
Course
Women's Studies 2158A/B
Professor
Sonia Halpern
Semester
Fall

Description
Lecture 007 – The Unerotic Nude October 30, 2012 Outline I – Introduction II – Male Artists a) Sexualized Images of Nude Women III – Female Artists a) The “Unerotic” Nude IV – Conclusion - Early 20 c. - The myth of the Avant-Garde; artists that are always trying to create or establish the latest trend; very modern. o Styles they developed had never been done before o These artists (who were mostly men, because men were the ones who formulated what was considered good art) were perceived as very liberal o People just assumed that because they were very artistic, they were open-minded o Where the myth of the avant-garde lies; when it came to images of women, these artists weren’t liberal at all, but people thought they were o True that they were very liberal in terms of their artistic styles, but when it came to their notions and ideas about women, it was the same old objectification that we’ve seen throughout the centuries; that male artists sexualized, objectified, and eroticized them o Interesting phenomenon; artists considered liberal in so many ways were not really liberal when it came to their approach on women o Male artists tended to see their sexual drive and artistic creativity as the same thing; slept with lots of women because they felt they would become their muses and drive the juices of their creativity o Vlaminck: “I try to paint with my heart and my loins” o Male artists showing off their artistic creativity, their sexuality, because they saw it as all tied together o Stuck in the same kind of sexist rut of treating women badly, depicting them in unflattering lights in their paintings, sexualizing and eroticizing them o REAL avant-garde artists of the period are the women artists; women finding alternative ways to depict images of women outside of the same old sexualisation and objectification and eroticization o Women did NOT connect their artistic creativity with their sexual output; didn’t see those two things linked, compartmentalized their artistic creativity and sexuality o Women weren’t socialized to be that way, to be as sexually liberated as men o Women seen as followers of men; working “in the style of”, not seen as avant-garde till the 1970s Desmoiselles D’Avignon (Picasso, 1907) - Translates to: The Women of Avignon - Cubist style; two components o 1) Artist wants to divide everything up into geometrical shapes o 2) Simultaneous multiple viewpoints; seeing multiple sides at the same time, art doesn’t have to resemble nature; avant-garde, modernist approach - Image of five prostitutes - Avignon refers to the red light district in Madrid, Spain - Not avant-garde in terms of subject matter; images of nude prostitutes have been around for a long time - Work was huge; 8 feet by 8 feet, very large image of prostitutes – never before had such a pedestrian matter been done on such a large scale - Challenges whole notion of the figure-ground relationship; harder to decipher the figure- ground relationship because both the figures and the background consist of geometric shapes - Rejecting mathematical perspective; don’t see foreground, middleground, background, like we do in a conventional background, because a mathematical formula hasn’t been applied - Women themselves are divided into geometrical parts (diamond shaped breast, etc) o Women always presented as fleshy and soft and sensual prior to this painting; here, they are very sharp and hard-edged - Influenced by African masks; wanted to make women seem threatening o Masks put on women in very savage way; makes them seem uncivilized, racist component to this – anything not deemed white Western seen as savage - German Expressionism - Cubism and German Expressionism happening at the same time; one of the leaders of the GE is Kirchner Self-Portrait With Model (Kirchner, 1907) - German Expression about using vivid colours, but using them in a very distorted way to provoke feelings of anxiety - Using non-local colour; artist can use any colour that does not have to replicate the real world (can paint the tree purple, green sun) o You use the colour because you feel like it, not because it necessarily replicates nature - Express their own anxiety in the early 20 century - Facial features also very exaggerated; exaggeration was always to promote anxiety - Wanted their paintings as anxiety-ridden as the felt society was at the time - Colours used in a disharmonious way; all used together to provoke feeling of anxiety - This work is very avant-garde; however, very traditional subject matter that was very old in its presentation; male artist with female model - Traditional dynamic; series of opposites that show tension and axiety (she’s sitting, he’s standing, man wearing something to cover him, woman wearing something revealing, he’s in foreground, she’s in background, he’s got shoes off, she’s got shoes on) - Dynamic itself is v
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