Art in America’s girlie ad


Opening my Art in America Thursday put me into a serious snit. On the inside front cover was a bimbo nude, by Pierre et Gilles (see a funnier example of their work here) that if it was meant to be a parody failed utterly. What it succeeded at was being pornographic, with its cinematic, stylized lighting, the blond tresses and hands coyly hiding nipples, Oscar-Wilde lilies coyly camouflaging nether regions, vapid fashion-model expressionlessness on the face of a Nordic beauty floating in front of a sky blue ground. The image was so cheesy that if I were a gallery owner running one of the ads of nudes that followed, I would have been fit to be tied: Tom Wesselman’s nude, William Beckman’s, both looked damned silly and inappropriate because of that bimbo. Even the R.B. Kitaj image, which I quite liked, seemed to take on a questionable tone.

Then came the story on feminist art and the efforts of women artists in the ’60s and ’70s to be taken seriously. That miserable bimbo nude undercut their aspirations, too. It even had a toxic effect on Barbara Pollack’s cheerful assertion that the art world has come too far to mean something derogatory when pigeonholing African-American artists’ work by skin color (at the end of the story on William Pope L.).

The bimbo belied the self-congratulatory PC tone of the issue. And so did the other ads, which were by-in-large for art works by white, male artists.


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