Sunday, November 01, 2009


Saw this at Fahey/Klein gallery on La Brea. Rasmus Mogensen's "Perfectly Natural" photo exhibit of very tall, thin models, made taller and thinner by Photoshop, was perplexing. How should a feminist react? The artist didn’t hide the fact they were creations, and monstrous, but many in the opening crowd didn’t seem to understand them as altered. We are so used to seeing the supermodel image, we accept it as fact, although unreachable.
After looking at the huge prints for a while, and not feeling outraged or intimidated, I decided they were so foreign that they had become objects to worship. These were not to be hidden in the bathroom or bedroom, but displayed in modern living rooms or above the brave boardroom table. The angle from which they were shot, the smoothness of the skin, the impossibility of their existence, made the women strange angels.
The next show I’m curating will be “Women by Women.” I want to explore a specific vision of womenhood in Southern California. Do we buy into the perfect form because we are surrounded by it? Do we rebel against it? As third-wave feminists, can we embrace the erotic while not commodifying it?


namastenancy said...

I always have a whole complex of responses. Unlike you, I do feel a degree of anger because I think that these types of images have become standards that are destructive for "real" women. I worked in the Pediatrics ward at UCSF and we had to set up a new ward for anorexic patients because the disease was becoming so prevalent and lethal. Now, I'm aware that anorexia has a multitude of causes but young girls trying to conform to an ever more rigid standard is one of them. Sometimes I find these images beautiful in their own way but I don't have any emotional resonance toward them as objects of beauty. Then, I wonder how they were done and who would buy them and what their motives would be.

kloeamongtheturks said...

Hi Nancy,
Yeah, it was a great show to think about. I attended with several men, and they were all surprised that I wasn't upset. I need to talk to my women's group about the images.

Here's a real problem:
Ralph Lauren's Photoshopped ad.

You're right--interesting to think who would buy these photos. Young bankers and geeks? Hipster couples? Older men who still date young women? If I remember correctly they were printed in large editions, $6000 each.

Makes me glad I don't have girls to protect from ballet/cheering/modeling/wearing today's clothes...