03 April 2013

Art, the Female Form and the Male Gaze

Last summer I went to a midtown art gallery to see an exhibit by Ryan McGuinness entitled "Women: Sketches & Solutions." 

The first thing that struck me about McGuinness' work in this exhibit was the contrast between the often sexual poses of the models and the finished product of the art, which at once seemed to be both enhanced and stripped down. The description of the exhibit, a portion of which I photographed here, says the artist took the "tradition of the male gaze and neutralized the resulting sexualized female forms" to create "a purely aesthetic exercise in image-making."
If McGuinness' goal was to create a "purely aesthetic exercise," I don't necessarily think he succeeded throughout all the artwork included in the exhibit. The images are still recognizable as women, their bodies still bare and open to the imagination. Sometimes the poses are subtle and seductive, sometimes shocking and abrasive. You might find yourself thinking less of them as an aesthetic exercise and more an exercise in the kind of art meant to shock and do little, if anything, else.

Still, other poses reach the ideal McGuinness was going for. Some are truly graceful and gorgeous, and you find yourself following every line of ink on the page.

The most interesting pieces in the collection, though, were the ones that showed the transition from the model drawings to the bare ink. Through these transitions you can see the shadows fade into black and white, see detail disappear altogether. This one, for example, was one of my favorites: The model's leg and toes turn into almost a musical instrument, and the waves of her hair seem to resemble musical notes.
It seems no matter what you do to the female form, one constant remains: It is impossible to stop looking.




The artist, Ryan McGuinness. Below, a sculpture I got to take a look at: Not part of the exhibit, but striking nonetheless.


On Years of (Relative) Silence

Hello everyone, I'm back! It might seem that I've been quiet since my last post a whopping three-and-a-half years ago. Truthfully I've been freelancing and finally landed a fulltime job doing--what else?--writing and reporting. The thing they don't warn you about when it comes to reporting is that it's really, really bad to put in your own opinions (okay, maybe they do warn you.) But having, as the subtitle of this blog suggests, innumerable and very relevant opinions on practically everything, this has been a struggle for me. So I thought I'd start writing a blog again. Here's what I do NOT intend to do: -write about my job. At all. -write about stories I cover at my job. At all. Here's what I do intend to do: -write about the things I see--plays, movies, operas, etc. -write about the things I read--news, magazines, books, etc. -try to reassure my three loyal readers that I won't disappear for so long again, at least, not without warning. So welcome, thanks for reading and enjoy!

11 November 2009

Holidays Again?

The World Series is over already? It feels like Opening Day was only a few weeks ago. Or maybe it's just the fact that the weather is exactly like it was on Opening Day that makes it seems so.

It's been over a year since Obama was elected and over a week since the Yankees won the World Series. Don't get me wrong, I've been a Yankees fan for years, but I'm starting to crave a little variety. It might be fun to have something new now and again.

I seem to have blinked and missed the fall. The trees are bare now, and the cold bites at my cheeks when I step outside.

On the plus side, at least I have avoided the swine flu, despite having a roommate who was diagnosed with it on my first day at a new job. I'm feeling pretty good about my immune system right now.

And now it's Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving will be here in two weeks, and Christmas only four short weeks after that. The years pass faster as I get older, and their charm begins to fade. If only we could stay young forever.

03 May 2009

Everybody Chill

I find it rather amusing everybody seems to be going crazy in fear over the swine flu, especially considering that two weeks ago, nobody had ever even heard of it.

Not to make fun of a deadly illness, which I know is no laughing matter, but health and government officials seem to get pleasure out of perpetuating this wave of fear. Stay in your homes. Don't go out. Wear a face mask if you do even though we're not really sure how effective face masks are at protecting you from this (did nobody thing that this was a great waste of energy, money, and paper?) Look at this picture from Getty Images. It's laughable.

And then, hardly a week after this deadly pandemic is on the loose and spreading internationally in a lock-up-your-children manner, Mexican officials announce that there weren't 176 deaths from the swine flu as originally recorded, but closer to 101 deaths instead. This isn't like an official accidentally counting the same person twice. Discrepancies like this remind me of a Monty Python skit. "I'm not dead! I don't want to go on the cart! I feel happyyyyy!"

Including the 23-month-old from Texas, Saturday's total death count was 102 people. It's a lot, I'll admit. But all this attention to swine flu is taking away from some of the bigger problems in Mexico and along the border, like drug violence. Over 7,000 people have died from gun-related violence in the southwest U.S. and Mexico since 2007, which makes it a lot more deadly than the swine flu by my count. from which 28 people were killed this week alone in only one city. Interesting how few newspapers and TV and radio news shows picked that up as their lead story.

Two other details about the H1N1 strain of the flu have apparently missed the notice of the public. First of all, according to the CDC's influenza page, approximately 36,000 Americans die of complications to the flu every year. That dwarfs even Mexican drug cartels. Second of all, also according to the CDC flu page, the strain of flu that was predominate in the 2006-2007 flu season was--ding ding ding! You guessed it!--H1N1. We're all going mad about a strain of flu that we all survived less than five years ago.

Remember that the next time you overhear the people in line behind you at the grocery store freaking out as they stock up on chicken soup and fluids.

23 April 2009

Ahh, the cheese.

For some reason I'm only tonight watching Center Stage for the very first time. Dear God, how have I lived without something quite this bad in my life?

Generally I don't go for the really truly horrible movies. But there's a bit of a scale to these things that it's important to keep in mind. There's the truly bad stuff that just makes you want to gouge your eyes out, of which Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle is, to me, the most obvious example. And then there's the kind of horrible that makes you glad you decided not to go into acting, but glad these people didn't so you can sit and point and laugh at them. And Center Stage is the best example of it that I've seen in a while. At least that stars people born in the same decade as me.

And now I feel old. I think I'll go watch An Affair To Remember again.