In the news today is the decision by a art gallery to display a painting completed in 1938. This has come to our attention because of a petition signed by ‘thousands’ against the inclusion of the painting in the gallery.
The painting itself is of a young woman, sitting on a chair in what some people have referred to as a ‘sexually suggestive pose’ and her underwear is showing. The horror. Given the level of nudity on show in art galleries I can’t see how this is actually an issue.
Of course the reason for the petition is because of the ‘current climate surrounding sexual assault’. Not mentioned is that the people creating the ‘current climate’ are the very people complaining about the painting itself. Of course sexual assault and harassment is wrong, but none of these are on show in the painting. As far as I am aware there have been no reported cases of the painting being sexually assaulted. At what point do you have to say that if these thoughts are immediately in your head perhaps you are the problem.
If I was to visit your house and look at your young daughter and suggest that she should dress differently, sit differently or act differently because of the ‘current climate surrounding sexual assault’, you would (quite rightly) think that I was being incredibly creepy and that I was sexualising your daughter in my own mind. Apparently this is not so in the case of these ‘petitioners’.
As for not wanting this picture to be seen in the gallery, all these people have managed to do is to make sure that the world gets to see the picture in all of it’s glory. This artwork is something that I would most likely never have seen. I have never heard of the artist and I don’t go to galleries very often. If your issue with the painting and the gallery is that they are ‘promoting voyeurism and the objectification of children’ then congratulations you have spread this around the world with your actions.
Having now seen the picture I had no idea why there was any controversy surrounding it at all, of course the picture being at the top of the page and the article below it. I still don’t see the controversy now, having read the article and written another one about it. What we have is another outcry from the professionally outraged. It must be a slow news week for them to focus on something so innocuous, but that is the world they live in.
Of course there is the implication that the artist was of course a pervert for trying to capture the image on canvas in the first place and that it is impossible to enjoy this painting without being a pervert who wants to assault people yourself. This is of course utter bollocks but a further indication of the madness of the times we live in. There is already too much self-censorship when it comes to artistic expression anyway, why are these people trying to make things worse?
I don’t understand art at the best of times, but given some of the things that are put in galleries with no issues what so ever this one seems a little bit too much of a stretch for me. I don’t understand where the end goal is for these people, I don’t understand what kind of a world they would like to create, but I do know that there needs to be more people questioning their actions and decisions. We cant just roll our eyes forever.