Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Visible Vagina

My darlin' husband, ever on the lookout for things I can write about on my blog, found this exhibit in one of my art magazines:

It's in NYC and is called The Visible Vagina.  It's a series of pictures done by both men and women on vaginas.  I think the artistic quality of the pieces varies - some I find compelling, others not so much.  I found it interesting to look at the pieces and to try to determine whether I thought they were done by a man or a woman.  I'm not sure why it was so evident, but I was usually correct.  I think there's more sympathy and understanding in the women's pieces.  The men's pieces were generally more about sex or perceiving the women as sexual objects - not so surprising, really - and quite interesting to see so clearly.

I also found that I was uncomfortable looking at most of the pieces.  Chris had sent me the link then came into the room when I was looking at the show.  I felt embarassed, like I had been caught doing something I shouldn't be doing - looking at representations of vaginas.  It was almost like I was caught looking at porn.  I realized that the discomfort I was feeling might be similar to what people sometimes feel when they look at my female nudes.  There was the voyeuristic part of me, wanting to see vaginas and what they look like to those artists.  There was the artist wanting to examine the pieces artistically.  And there was the mother, who would have been very embarassed if my kids had seen me looking at it - even though it was art.  I found myself questioning the intentions of the different artists - to thrill, to provoke, to inform, to offer beauty?  I felt some judgments when I didn't like the piece or if I thought the intention behind it wasn't pure (i.e. didn't go along with my intentions, most likely!)

It was an interesting set of feelings to experience.  I think it helped me understand some of the responses to my work better.  There are definitely certain boundaries that everyone has.  Mine may be further down the road than some peoples', but this set of pictures helped me recognize that I still have some places I'm not completely comfortable going!  Very cool!

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