This just in from our man on the spot, George Shaw…
She’s all tied up…in a poor system, 1951/2015
Are you the right kind of woman for it?, 1974/2007
While art may imitate life, advertising has a long history of manipulating the zeitgeist in its unbridled pursuit of profit. In Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015 at the Jack Shainman Gallery, Hank Willis Thomas presents 100 examples of mainstream print advertisements with their logos and texts erased to reveal powerful images of the sexualisation and fetishisation of women by corporate America. In his collection of powerful, decontextualised images, Thomas presents the myths and generalisations that are still invoked in the portrayal of women in popular culture.
Has any artist ever matched Richard Prince’s deftness at not giving a f**k about anything or anyone else? In his show Original at Gagosian, Prince exploits his vast library of pulp fiction paperbacks to advance self-serving ideas about authorship and ownership. By pairing vintage adult novels with their original artworks he takes appropriation a step further by declaring that, “I don’t see any difference now between what I collect and what I make.” At least the few artworks that were originally signed were left intact. Too little, too late?
Censored Five Bathers by Cezanne
Censored Large Reclining Nude by Matisse
Censored Poseuse de Face by Seraut
Censored The Valpincon Bather by Ingres
When a friend sent Pamela Joseph examples of how religious authorities in Iran censor details of well-known paintings with black markers (on imported books) or pixelation (on locally printed books), it gave the artist the motivation to turn these reproductions into ‘new’ paintings for her show Censored at the Francis Naumann Gallery; obscured details and all. However, the original attempts at concealment, as a strategy to remove temptation, give further credence to the idea that the female figure is far more compelling and sexually alluring when not fully revealed.
Images courtesy of Francis M. Naumann Gallery