Monthly Archives: March 2011

Naked Women: Sexy! Naked Men: Eh.

I have been incredibly busy (and some could say lazy) lately. Classes, clubs, reading the entire internet, all of a sudden it’s two weeks later and nary a post in sight.

But fear not! For as an apology, I present to you a post with plenty of nudity…

"Male Nude Known as Patroclus" by Jacques-Louis David

(Couldn't find the title) Robert Mapplethorpe

"Male Nudes" by George Lynes

"Young Nude Man" by Hippolyte Flandrin

And plenty of discussion on the implications of nudity in regards to men and women in art (you thought you would get to just enjoy some attractive naked men and women? Sorry!). First point of discussion: you would not believe how long it took me to find these few good examples of the male nude.

Well, that’s not entirely what I was searching for. I can immediately think of a number of examples of naked men as subject (particularly including contemporary work). For instance, a lot of paintings and statues by Michelangelo, ancient Roman and Greek nudes, work by artists such as Lucian Freud, Robert Mapplethorpe, the list goes on. So let me rephrase.

You would not believe how long it took me to find good examples of the sensual male nude.

More after the jump!

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Women in Art: Jenny Saville

My last post on weight issues in the art world made me want to further investigate specific artists. In this case, Jenny Saville. She’s an incredible artist who utilizes mark making and sophisticated application of paint to create figure paintings of large women, working with how women are viewed by men, by themselves, and how we as a society perceive gender (among many other interesting topics).

For my Women/Gender/Art class we wrote research papers on women artists throughout history and how their work related to gender, or how their gender caused historians and critics to treat them differently from male contemporaries of their time. I really wanted to compare and contrast the depiction of the female nude by Jenny Saville and Will Cotton, but alas, they were rejected as too recent… Instead I went with Harriet Hosmer and Hiram Powers, which was interesting as well, but my research paper writing heart truly belongs to my original topic!

Saville's "Propped" and Cotton's "Cotton Candy Clouds". Their depictions of the female nude are so vastly different. It's enough to make me actually want to write a research paper.

But enough of those dreams, that paper can wait for another day!

Today I want to focus on Saville.

More after the jump!

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Sizeism in Art

My drawing class began a new project today; recreating a work by an impressionist artist.

I don’t usually go for reproducing work. The thought and care that went into creating that piece, the composition, the color choices, the entire idea, everything is already there. So what I’m creating isn’t meaningful or innovative, it’s just a copy. However, I understand that some pieces aren’t about the finished product, they’re about the learning experience, and as a first year I’d like to improve my technique as much as possible.

I arrived at class with the three images I was considering working from. A Degas:

A Monet:

And a Gauguin:

Interestingly, some people had pieces that were obviously not by impressionist artists. In fact, two separate people had been fooled by Lucian Freud’s work, one student only bringing in three Freud paintings.

Our teacher surveyed the wall, “Jeremy*,” he said with a sigh, “could you tell me why you chose those images?”

Jeremy still didn’t realize his mistake, and began to talk about this painting:

“Well,” he said, “I liked this piece because it’s so grotesque”.

At this point the majority of the room laughed.

“It’s just that, look at this woman, and imagine doing that gesture. And as you keep working it’s just becoming grosser and grosser as you draw and paint more. She’s huge and there’s all of these flaps of flesh. That’s why I picked it”.

Everyone in the room is smiling. Some people nod their heads in agreement.

“That’s great Jeremy, but this piece isn’t impressionist. It’s by Lucian Freud…” My teacher explained Jeremy’s mistake, but not the mistake that I’d like to talk about.

More after the jump!

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Surfing the “Women” Tag on WordPress: Proceed with Caution

Sometimes in my spare time, I like to tagsurf on WordPress (For those of you who don’t know what tagsurfing is, it’s just a compilation of the most recent blog posts across wordpress that are tagged with the tags you are “surfing”. Tagsurfs can be added or removed as wanted, but are originally created by the tags we use in our own blog posts. For example, I tag my post with “gender” and would then be shown other posts tagged with “gender”.)

I haven’t changed, deleted, or added any of the tags, they’re all generated naturally from this site. Because of this, it probably won’t surprise any of you that the majority of blog posts I’m shown have to do with women and art.

The art tags are just fine. At the best I get to see posts about gallery openings, rants from art students, even great work by professional artists. The most I have to worry about is sifting through a lot of high school artwork, which is almost endearing in a charmingly awkward way (In the way that all of our high school work is always at least slightly awkward). No, the problem is with the “Women” tag.

Wow.

“Women” is a tag that could cover any number of things, and it does, from feminist articles to workplace stories, family photographs, and even to outright misogyny as I’ve come to learn.

There are a lot of blog posts ranting about women. And I mean a lot. There are posts by men who feel women owe them emotional and physical love and are disappointed and angry that they’re not receiving it. There are posts by self-proclaimed pick-up artists who think that their chauvinism isn’t bad, because they admit that they’re chauvinists! They’re not pigs, just honest men in a tough world. There are posts by women who complain about other women being snarky, and how those other women are the reason the smugly satisfied poster only has male friends. My least favorite are the posts that rant about how women can’t be trusted, whether it’s with the right to choose, to receive an education, to vote intelligently, or that just think women can’t be trusted in general.

There’s a lot of hating on women going on.

There will always be jerks. Don't listen to them.

Going through tagsurfer, my page displayed twelve posts tagged with “Women”. Out of these tags (Displaying categories from most frequent to least frequent):

More after the jump!

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Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day (The 100th anniversary in fact!). The day on which nations across the world celebrate the political, social, and economic achievements of women throughout history. The day on which we women are honored for what we have accomplished in the face of incredible adversity. It’s amazing to think of everything women have accomplished, be it the individual achievements of great women such as Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and many more, or the achievements we have made as a group working towards equality. A day for women is a great way to recognize the importance of women past, present, and future!

I put my mom and I on the front left and center of the couch. My mom is an amazing woman. Love you mom!

Yet, curiously enough, I haven’t heard anything about Women’s Day on campus. Nor have I heard anything about Women’s History Month. Although the majority of RIT students are men, perhaps specifically because the majority are men, I would expect the school to recognize this day.

And considering this year’s theme, “Equal access to education, training, and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women” I would imaging RIT would be all over this! This school is science and technology. We should be encouraging more support for women in these fields, we should be embracing today with enthusiasm!

More after the jump!

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Happy European Equal Pay Day!

Or really, not happy European Equal Pay Day.

Today, March 5th, marks the number of extra days into 2011 European women must work in order to receive the same amount of money as men for a year of work in 2010. Earning 17.5% less than men do throughout a lifetime, it’s clear that the wage discrimination against women needs to end. Pay discrimination harkens back to a time when women were always meant to marry young, have kids, and run a household, leaving their husbands to be the breadwinners. Well that nonsense is ending. Today, more women are getting college degrees than men, women are the largest portion of the workforce, and ultimately (and this is the most important point!), women need to be paid salaries that are fair for the amount of work they do.

John F Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Forty-seven years later and we're still struggling.

Many people argue that women are being paid less than men because they are doing work that is worth less than men’s work or that we negotiate for less money than men. Basically, many are under the misconception that women are preventing themselves from attaining equal pay.

The crazy thing is, blaming women for everything bad that happens to them? Not always fair (What a surprise!). What these people are failing to recognize is that:

  1. Even in fields dominated by women, men are on average paid more. For example, female secretaries make 83.4% as much as male secretaries. The difference is not in the quality of their work, it is in their sex.
  2. There is a glass ceiling. It’s more difficult to move forward in powerful companies because of being a woman. Some believe that women don’t have the aggressiveness that men have, and therefore won’t do well in leadership positions. Of course, if women are aggressive, they’re bitchy. If women aren’t aggressive, they’re not leadership material. There is no way to win. This aggressiveness also affects women when negotiating for salaries. We have conditioned to be “nice” and “compromising” for our entire lives. If we are aggressive, we are seen in a negative light, while aggressive men are seen in a positive light.
  3. People assume that women are going to run off and have babies any minute! Although hiring and firing based on whether or not a person will have children is illegal, people still speculate about the likelihood of a woman leaving her job because of her family. Whether or not that family exists yet. I’m a nineteen year old woman, and people already ask me if I want to have kids someday. Or rather, they don’t ask me “if”, they ask me when and how many. I doubt that men my age are being questioned about future children. This sort of attitude undoubtably carries on into the workplace and prevents women of childbearing age from being hired or advancing in companies.

More after the jump!

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I Don’t Think the Tea Party Understands what Terrorism is.

I think that the tea party is having trouble getting their position straight. They hate terrorism? But they’re terrorizing others based on race and presumed religion.

In case you didn’t watch the video, it shows right wing extremists harassing–terrorizing–the Islamic Circle of North America, a group hosting an Orange County charity fundraiser which raised money for women’s shelters and the homeless.The tea party group is shown here screaming death threats and racial slurs. Called “We Surround Them OC 912”, they are not only terrible people, but they’re terrible people supported by a few terrible politicians. Ed Royce, US Representative for California’s 40th district attended the protest and said, “I am proud of you. I am proud of what you are doing.”

Really Ed? You’re proud of a group of racist cowards hiding behind their “patriotism”?

More after the jump!

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Art in Review: Why my work sucked

There comes a point in time where every college art student realizes that everything, and I mean everything they made in high school sucked.

You may fight it. You may say, “But wait, my work was the best in the class! My teachers loved it and I got the blue ribbon in the “Insert generic town name here” art festival!”

Well, it may have been good in comparison to other high school work, but compared to what you can and (possibly) will do? It sucked.

I remember how excited I was about my work from highschool. The colors were so great! The people were only vaguely misshapen! And the subject was so clever and unique!

No.

And thus, I get to the point of this post. I am going to try to go back and review the work I made in high school with a clearer eye. I am going to try to talk about my work without bias (I may not always succeed, but hey, I get points for trying, right?). The work I review will be from my breadth and concentration for AP studio art, and possibly other pieces I feel are relevant. I may not cover everything and I can’t promise that I’ll go in order, seeing as how I don’t exactly remember the order, but I’ll try to make this a fairly regular feature of this blog. Hopefully by going back and realizing the mistakes I was making in the past I can improve the work I’m making now.

So let’s begin:

Helios: God of the Sun

More after the jump!

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