Wednesday, April 30, 2008

IS IT ART?

OMG! It's been ages since I've updated my blog. I thought that being unemployed, I'd have plenty of time to keep up with the blog writing (as opposed to the fiction writing), but I have to say, when there seems to be plenty of time, I seem to lose the ability to manage it!

OK – here's the kicker – I can't believe the subject that has got me back to the blog is the damn Miley Cyrus/Vanity Fair cover, but, yes, sadly, that is the catalyst. It started this morning when I tuned in to about three minutes of The View. Of course they were talking about it. Then I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR and they were talking about it. Later I heard some people at the coffee shop talking about IT. So I got online and looked up the picture. My first impression was that it was unflattering. My second impression was that it was definitely leaning on the side of inappropriate. Those of you who know me know that I can defend almost anything in the name of art – including graffiti (much to the dismay of some of my friends). But I would have to say that this isn't art. And therefore I have a hard time defending it.

Sarah Phillips also blogged about this picture on The Guardian art & architecture blog here: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/art/2008/04/miley_cyrus.html
Sorry I can't link it…

Sarah quotes Germaine Greer being quoted in The Guardian as saying, "In western art most of the women portrayed semi-clad or totally nude are children ... When Lucian Freud paints girl children nobody cares ... Botticelli paints the yet-to-be-enjoyed goddess of love emerging from the sea, people come from all over the world to gape at her. The Greeks and Romans liked their goddesses meaty; our preferred Venuses are children. Hardy perennials such as Diane de Poitiers held their sway as long as they did because their bodies never matured. Kate Moss has been able to earn millions only as long as she could continue to project the body image of a 13-year-old."

How about that? I quoted Sarah, quoting The Guardian, quoting Germaine Greer… That's quite a link…

So, may I just say, Ms. Greer, that Lucien Freud is an artist who's work is hung in galleries and museums. Same with Botticelli. Who cares if the Greeks and Romans liked their women zaftig and today the trend is toward thin and infantilized? This is beside the point; a whole other subject for discussion, maybe at a later date. The point is, this picture is not taken for the purpose of art, even though Ms. Leibovitz is an amazing photographer and artist. This picture was taken for commercial purposes – to sell a magazine.

Using Diane de Poitiers as an example of why the depiction of young girls as a sexual object is okay is also not relevant to the point. Mde. de Poitiers was a courtesan of the sixteenth century, and while she was painted in the nude, she was a grown woman, and, once again, it was art.

Kate Moss is also not art, but rather, a model. Her business is to sell clothes. Oh yeah, again, she is a grown woman, not a girl of fifteen.

Let's let the young girls be young girls, they grow up fast enough anyway. Let's not confuse magazine covers with art. Let's stop exploiting children. Let's try to stem the tide of infantilizing women to make them more desirable. Let's hope that in the future, more important things inspire me to write!

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