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NSFW. Changing female body image through art
January 17, 2013 4:03 AM   Subscribe

The Great Wall of Vagina an exhibition by English artist Jamie McCartney described as a revolutionary with a bucket of plaster.
Included in the exhibition is Physical Photography which brings echoes of Cynthia Plaster Caster.
Then there are Great Wall of Vagina Videos.
For those wanting a cast of their vagina the artist Mearle Gates is the man to turn to.
posted by adamvasco (80 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
This must be what they mean by revulvalutionary art.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:08 AM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I consider anything that challenges the idea that all genitals look like X or Y to be pretty goddamn excellent. Yay for body acceptance!
posted by fight or flight at 4:14 AM on January 17, 2013


FOR THE LOVE OF LITTLE KITTENS THE THING YOU ARE ALL TALKING ABOUT IS NOT CALLED A VAGINA IT IS CALLED A VULVA
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:20 AM on January 17, 2013 [57 favorites]


This reminds me of the walls of lovely porcelain vulvas I saw at MONA Hobart. The work was 'Cunts and other Conversations. I had further enjoyment of taking all this in in the company of a hetero male virgin, and a snuck flittering sideways glances at him wondering if he'd been previously misled by the www.

A taxi driver around town asked me if I'd seen the 'Collingwood wall' when I mentioned I'd visited the gallery. Victorians will know why.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:26 AM on January 17, 2013


Own your own! (Scroll down for genitlalia.)
posted by Jode at 4:27 AM on January 17, 2013


What about the rest of the body those genitals are attached to?

I'm not sure how this changes body image. I certainly don't see any fat women's genitals there. If it were a wall of plaster penises I'm not sure that would qualify as "changing body image".

It's interesting. Can't say it's not art. But revolutionary? IMHO, no. But that's just me.
posted by Malice at 4:29 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the artist's statement he concedes these are vulva casts. So he knows the title of the art project is factually incorrect but chose to go with it anyway. To me, that kind of ruins it. For the sake of a cheap jokepun he's lost a significant measure of integrity. I find this curiously relevant to previous discussions.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:33 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not being a Victorian I googled Collingwood Wall in images and I am confused.
( Apologies, I realize that vaginas are 8 miles wide)
posted by adamvasco at 4:35 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh... .... clever.
posted by Flashman at 4:39 AM on January 17, 2013


Own your own!

Oh man, those ones with the keys! I'd love to have something like that up in my hallway for when guests come over. You know, to break the ice.

I certainly don't see any fat women's genitals there.

You realise that a fat woman's genitals wouldn't look especially different, right?
posted by fight or flight at 4:45 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked it better when Georgia O'Keeffe did it.
posted by rocket88 at 4:47 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


But none of these are vaginas... they are LABIA. There is a big difference. A cast of someone's vagina would be something quite different.

I believe in getting the terminology straight, dammit. Carry on.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:49 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how this changes body image. I certainly don't see any fat women's genitals there.

Considering that the overwhelming representation of women's genitals is uniform and petite ala mainstream porn, I think this is pretty challenging. F email genitals come in vast variety: hidden, hanging, streamlimed, ruffled, flat, chubby, smooth, wrinkled, dimpled... but mainstream media would have us believe that they all look more or less like this (NSFW). Some do; a lot don't, and the ones that don't are not failing to live up to some made up ideal just because the plastic surgery industry would like you to think so or because the porn industry increasingly drives our sense of what's healthy.

It's really important for women to know their vulvas fall within the completely normal and healthy range, and I think it's important for men who dig women to have this kind of exposure too. This kind of project is great for that and if calling it Vagina gets more feet through the door and more eyes on the site than calling it Vulva or Labia, I'm fine with that.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:59 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Courbet is still the artist for me on this. You've got to admire his exasperated determination that the Western canon of art was going to contain at least one solid, straightforward view of an honest-to-god hairy cunt.
posted by Segundus at 5:01 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Been in Rio too long, methinks ...
posted by infini at 5:06 AM on January 17, 2013


Metafilter: Scroll down for genitalia.
posted by emelenjr at 5:20 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think this is revolutionary at all. Maybe in some historic era it would have been, but today it strikes me as, "Oh look, another depiction of women as vaginas disembodied from everything else that makes them human beings." It's still art that's focused on that one body part rather than the whole person. I'd be equally disengaged by a wall of breasts.

I think that an article depicting even one woman who is an entire person - brain, job, opinions, personality, preferences, history, future, humanity, etc - rather than as a body part, is more "revolutionary" than an entire wall of vaginas (or vulvas, whatever).

What would be revolutionary is to take the magnifying glass off these body parts, rather than put the magnifying glass on them in a new and gimmicky way.

To me that wall is porn, not art. The fact that it's made by a man just drives the impression home, for me. Oh look, another man's commentary on women's vaginas. Here is one man who has accessed (and objectified) the vaginas of numerous woman, and is getting fame/credit/recognition for doing so. That is about as status quo as it gets.

There have been lots of past vagina photography projects, not so sure about sculpture. This was popular in the 1970's. I think Betty Dodson did one.
posted by kellybird at 5:32 AM on January 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


For the sake of a cheap jokepun he's lost a significant measure of integrity.

At least he didn't call it Alotta Fagina.
posted by Zippity Goombah at 5:34 AM on January 17, 2013


In the artist's statement he concedes these are vulva casts. So he knows the title of the art project is factually incorrect but chose to go with it anyway. To me, that kind of ruins it. For the sake of a cheap jokepun he's lost a significant measure of integrity.

....

You know, I totally didn't get that the name was a pun on "Great Wall of China" until you pointed that out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:37 AM on January 17, 2013


Only Nixon could ... nope. Sorry, nevermind.
posted by wobh at 5:46 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal labial which bothers some men.
posted by Skeptic at 5:48 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


prior art: Plaster Caster
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:50 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here is one man who has accessed (and objectified) the vaginas of numerous woman, and is getting fame/credit/recognition for doing so.

I knew I should have studied art, rather than engineering...
posted by Skeptic at 5:53 AM on January 17, 2013


That's why I studied engineering, instead of art.
posted by infini at 6:03 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


People have already mentioned why a wall of women's disembodied vulva isn't a particularly feminist gesture, but even if it was, it's kind of... passe, to be honest? You want to see women reclaiming the image of the vagina as something beautiful in all it's forms (as corny as that sounds) just go to Etsy. At least the knitted vagina purses and lovingly handcrafted fanny brooches there have been made with a modicum of second wave feminist sincerity.

To me? This guy is a sub-par artist with an idea that manages to be simultaneously controversial and tired as fuck. Him saying that this is helping to change women's body image issues is just some self declared manly hero bullshit, because truly, in this world where the feminist discourse on women's bodies is so extensive and sophisticated, and the social forces which influence their self image are so powerful and prolific, a wall of vaginas is what's going to make all the difference to us.

I don't really find it offensive, I just find it self congratulatory, irritating, and ultimately, I think it's a boring piece of art.
posted by emperor.seamus at 6:05 AM on January 17, 2013 [18 favorites]


One of the films cited or linked on the video page was on tv here tonight, 'The Perfect Vagina', which I had seen before.

I understand the argument that the vagina wall is porn and it's just another voyeuristic pathway and promotes a deconstructionist view of women, but a lot of the (UK) tv show had to do with labiaplasty operations and it appears many (the majority?) occur because each woman wants surgery so she can feel the appearance of her genitalia is within normal limits. And a lot of that lack of confidence or self loathing relates to, well, basically, ignorance for how broad is the range of 'normal' in relation to the appearance of genitalia.

So, while there may have been many art and photoworks in the past along the same lines, there's a solid argument to say that having such a range of casted vulvae might, just might, help assuage the negative feelings of some people who might conclude that their own appearance is really not as bizarre as they had thought.

Is "vulva" a well known word? That's maybe a semi-reasonable reason why there's a persistence with the mislabelling.
posted by peacay at 6:08 AM on January 17, 2013


I liked it better when Panurge did it.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 6:16 AM on January 17, 2013


Is "vulva" a well known word? That's maybe a semi-reasonable reason why there's a persistence with the mislabelling.

It would be if we had anything approaching responsibe sexual education in schools. *grumpy pout*

I liked it better when Panurge did it.

Or Judy Chicago.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 AM on January 17, 2013


Yawn. Once the idea that art should "provoke" was reduced to a conventional form of unconventionality, it just got too easy.

My next work will be a cocktail party in which all of the hors d'oeuvres are made of poop. It's very interesting to watch people "confront" their "disgust" with my "food" made of "excrement".
posted by mondo dentro at 6:32 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


My friend's band has a song called "Great Wall of 'Gina" (SLYT (possibly nsfw - dancing stripper (no nudity)).

It's a kickass song.
posted by symbioid at 6:34 AM on January 17, 2013


Once more, a man defining women's bodies. Creepy.
posted by what's her name at 6:43 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


All in all it's just another vulva in the wall.
posted by Kabanos at 6:46 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


My vague recollection of Latin makes me think the plural of vulva should be vulvae, which I would pronounce as rhyming with yay! Oh, and wouldn't the plural of penis be penes, choose your own pronunciation. OK I got my pedantic rocks off for the morning, carry on.
posted by mareli at 7:02 AM on January 17, 2013


I have a vulvar skin condition that is proving problematic to diagnose conclusively, so I spend a lot of my time talking to specialists about my lady bits. My husband, though, has yet to grasp the difference between vagina and vulva, and routinely asks me about the wrong body part.

I got snippy yesterday (har har) and finally asked him if I should start referring to his penis as his testicle, because it makes about as much sense.

Which is to say, I am particularly attuned to the issue right now, and this just makes me want to stand on a rooftop and yell VULVAE VULVAE VULVAE until it somewhat penetrates people's skulls that no, the terms are really not in any way interchangeable.

/rant
posted by lydhre at 7:16 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick: "prior art: Plaster Caster "

That's what I was thinking of. Featured in the 1970 movie "Groupies."

Cynthia Plaster Caster's website. Bio. 20 Questions.
posted by zarq at 7:33 AM on January 17, 2013


My vague recollection of Latin makes me think the plural of vulva should be vulvae...

I was wondering whether vulva was actually the plural of vulvus. Isn't Latin splendid?
posted by spacewrench at 7:36 AM on January 17, 2013


The opposite wall should be a wall of penises. The viewer should grapple with being caught in the crossfire.
posted by mazola at 7:38 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The opposite wall should be a wall of penises. The viewer should grapple with being caught in the crossfire.

Trash compactor on the (erotic) death star?
posted by kensch at 8:00 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


To me that wall is porn, not art. The fact that it's made by a man just drives the impression home, for me. Oh look, another man's commentary on women's vaginas. Here is one man who has accessed (and objectified) the vaginas of numerous woman, and is getting fame/credit/recognition for doing so. That is about as status quo as it gets.
Sorry my Bullshit detector just exploded.
Over 400 women were cast for this project. Not one of them as far as I know against her will.
I also presume by your reasoning that there are no enlightened women on any of the selection committees of where this project is shown.
Please take your puritanical nonsense somewhere else (Japan?).
mazola: penises are featured see third link.
Also Mearle found me and says thanks.
posted by adamvasco at 8:32 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seattle artist John Grade's wall of a different kind of lips.
posted by bz at 8:41 AM on January 17, 2013


I wonder how a play called The Vulva Monologues would differ from The Vagina Monologues ?
posted by Skygazer at 8:46 AM on January 17, 2013


Mazola: The opposite wall should be a wall of penises. The viewer should grapple with being caught in the crossfire.

That would be like being caught in a libidinal vortex of subatomic energies.
posted by Skygazer at 8:49 AM on January 17, 2013


lydhre: Which is to say, I am particularly attuned to the issue right now, and this just makes me want to stand on a rooftop and yell VULVAE VULVAE VULVAE until it somewhat penetrates people's skulls that no, the terms are really not in any way interchangeable.


Sometimes I stand on a rooftop, wishing someone actually would do that...
posted by Skygazer at 8:54 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My vague recollection of Latin makes me think the plural of vulva should be vulvae...

I was wondering whether vulva was actually the plural of vulvus. Isn't Latin splendid?


The dictionary is your friend:
vul·va [vuhl-vuh] - noun, plural vul·vae [vuhl-vee]
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:01 AM on January 17, 2013


Although "vulvas" is also apparently accepted usage nowadays.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:03 AM on January 17, 2013


Yeah, sorry to come in here and bag on this, but this is profoundly boring art (and the scanners thing, he gets nice images out of it, but it's not innovative — people have been doing that since color copiers came out). I can only imagine it being controversial to the elbow-patches crowd, and really, does the world need another dude artist doing the whole "Ladies, I sure love cunnilingus" thing?
posted by klangklangston at 9:06 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here I thought it was just the cake that was a lie.
posted by jfuller at 9:12 AM on January 17, 2013


I can only imagine it being controversial to the elbow-patches crowd...

As a dedicated cardigan-with-elbow-patches wearer, I am deeply offended by this remark. I nominate this as the next target of hate speech activists. Right after we get this "ginger" business sorted out.
posted by mondo dentro at 9:22 AM on January 17, 2013


Although "vulvas" is also apparently accepted usage nowadays.

... in the parlance of our times.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:23 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


plural vul·vae [vuhl-vee]

"Vuhl-vee" sounds like a name for some kind of small, possibly fuzzy, dog -- a pomeranian maybe.

I mean, just say it out loud, "Com'ere Vuhlvee! Who's a good little doggy, Vuhlvee? That's right, Vuhlvee, it's you! You're a good little puppy-wuppy, Vuhlvee!"
posted by Panjandrum at 9:33 AM on January 17, 2013


Forget the politics, hucksterism, and your inner art critic (yeah, it’s been done a million times). It’s sort of interesting as an educational thing. It does make people think and start a discussion. And they’re pretty. Is that art?

I’ve long given up on seeing something new and good. "Not completely stupid" is the new "good".
posted by bongo_x at 9:47 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Vuhl-vee" sounds like a name for some kind of small, possibly fuzzy, dog

Nooo... Vuhl-vee sounds more like a small European car of some sort, something like the FIAT 500....

The FIAT VOLE-V, or somesuch...
posted by Skygazer at 9:53 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please take your puritanical nonsense somewhere else (Japan?).

Do they not have vagina walls in Japan, or is it just that trite art is banned there?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:18 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My vague recollection of Latin makes me think the plural of vulva should be vulvae...

I was wondering whether vulva was actually the plural of vulvus. Isn't Latin splendid?


The plural is actually Vulveeta.
posted by Kabanos at 10:28 AM on January 17, 2013


Alvy when you are around I turn my bullshit recognition meter off as I don´t need it.
Try the first link.
posted by adamvasco at 11:01 AM on January 17, 2013


This may be art, but I don't find it revolutionary or even particularly significant. This wall of vulvae, since you don't know who they belong to, and since they aren't placed in any larger context, is closer to a catalog, where you sort through and pick out the vulva you like best or something, than a statement on society's perception of women and their bodies (which is what I assume the artist was going for).

What would have elevated the whole project, for me, was a way to match the disembodied vulvae to their respective owners in an innovative way that really made the viewer think about his/her conceptions of women and their sexual attractiveness. Just looking at the plaster casts, though, diverse as they are, creates in the viewer a distance from the subject matter that really doesn't lend itself to any introspection or enlightenment.

So! For the next project, if any erstwhile artists are paying attention, here's what I think would have made an impression on me, anyway:

Take these 400-something plaster casts, and group them by characteristic. This is doable; diverse as they are, you are going to end up with some that have longer outer labia than others, some with more prominent clitorises, whatever.

So, you end up with groupings of vulvae. Now, around them, making up a periphery and framing those vulvae, you place images, shrouded or hidden in some way and unobtrusive--obviously the eye will originally be drawn to the plaster casts, right?

And then you have a way, when the viewer has been in front of each grouping for a set time, to reveal or light up those surrounding images (DUH DUH DUN!). which are revealed as full-length photos, of fully-clothed women. The women the respective vulvae belong to.

The object being, of course, that the viewer will have an "Aha!" moment, where he (or she) realizes that the appearance of a woman's vulva is not in any reliable way an indicator of the way the rest of that woman will look, and vice versa.

See, now, that would be revelatory. This exhibit, for me, is not.
posted by misha at 11:14 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alvy when you are around I turn my bullshit recognition meter off as I don´t need it.

Whoa there, cowboy; I'm sorry your FPP is being criticised, but kellybird's point is a fair one I think, and deserved a better response than what they recieved. As to the Japan thing, it seems very much like a tempest in a teapot. Considering the piece isn't really that edgy, it's hard for me to take the breathless "NEWS FLASH" blurb seriously.

Also, if you have some sort of personal problem with me at least have the decency to let me know the hows and the whys via MeMail, so I know what my part is in your little play.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:53 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


How transgressive.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:01 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This may be art, but I don't find it revolutionary or even particularly significant. This wall of vulvae, since you don't know who they belong to, and since they aren't placed in any larger context, is closer to a catalog, where you sort through and pick out the vulva you like best or something, than a statement on society's perception of women and their bodies (which is what I assume the artist was going for).

It must be interesting to be an artist: create a work of art and then hear critiques from various people who tell you how you could have made it better.

From the Press Gallery on his site, Art of England, May 2012:
"What is different about Jamie McCartney's work is the fact that The Great Wall of Vagina seeks to glorify the body without idealizing it, by describing in intimate detail, the individual nature of women's bodies. In essence, these portraits are as much a self-portrait as a face -- each is entirely individual. And this is something that is news to many people.
...
McCartney sought to oppose the notion of a singularly "perfect" female aesthetic, as advocated by private plastic surgeons and the pornography industry alike, which does not allow for naturally occurring diversity and, as McCartney argues, beauty."
One of the points the artist is deliberately trying to make to his audience is that each of these casts does not require the rest of the body to be at once unique, individual, similar to its neighbors and above all, beautiful.

Plus, the medium in which he chose to work removes race from being a comparative factor.

Interestingly enough, his site's press section indicates that this exhibition is being referenced by some articles discussing labiaplasty and pornography's inadvertently negative influence on people's unreasonable ideals of genital beauty.
The Great Wall of Vagina was unveiled in mid-2011 by artist Jamie McCartney. This artwork is comprised of 400 plaster cast vaginas, broken into ten panels of 40; this artefact is just one of these panels. Women from all aspects of life volunteered to be a part of this project, with mothers, daughters, twins and transsexuals just some of the women involved. Despite his efforts, McCartney was not able to find a participant who had experienced female genital mutilation to participate however. Constructed over a five year period, participants were aged between eighteen and seventy-six. (McCartney, 2011).

The Public Health Issue
When the topic of labiaplasty is first discussed, the public health issue is not always apparent. This is due to the overwhelming sense of agency present, as this is considered to be a cosmetic procedure that a woman chooses to have (Davis, 2002). However, when more in depth research is undertaken, it becomes evident that women from all aspects of the world are feeling the social pressure to have the perfect vagina, what has become known as the ‘designer vagina’- thus indicating that the need to conform to a social structure is creating a public health problem for women, both emotionally and physically.
I don't think this installation requires the viewer to mix and match, see or speculate about the owners of each set of vulvae, or treat the wall like a catalog. I certainly don't think it requires any of those things to be either revelatory or have an impact on the viewer.
posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


At Guernica: Labiaplasty, Part I and Part II
While labiaplasty is increasingly popular, it remains controversial, sparking debate within the medical profession broadly, among specialists, and in wider society. The surgery is relatively unregulated and frequently botched, as indicated by the staggering number of clinics that advertise discreet revisions of bungled previous surgeries. At the same time, detractors claim that women have been manipulated by the media to believe in a mythical “perfect vagina.” Some women undergo labiaplasty for medical or practical reasons—large labia can cause irritation and pain during sex and exercise—but the vast majority elect to undergo the surgery for cosmetic purposes, anxious to achieve a more attractive genital area. The desired “look” is consistently that of a smaller, less obtruding vulva, with “neat,” even labia, and this “streamlined” ideal is becoming increasingly minimalist.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:46 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


the man of twists and turns: "While labiaplasty is increasingly popular, it remains controversial,"

Thanks for that article. Fascinating reading.

I commented about this topic on the blue a couple of years ago. That whole thread was interesting.
posted by zarq at 1:56 PM on January 17, 2013


I've seen posters for this around my area. When did this sort of thing become encouraged? Call me a prude but I don't want to see genitals, male or female, when I'm on my morning walk. It's all just body stuff, meat and fluids, and it's pretty perverse to elevate it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:56 PM on January 17, 2013


It's all just body stuff, meat and fluids, and it's pretty perverse to elevate it.

Says the one who’s name is a euphemism for penis. Elevate it.
posted by bongo_x at 2:00 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Says the one who’s name is a euphemism for penis. Elevate it.

It is? I'd honestly never considered that. I'll need to add it to wiki. Call it whatever you want, though - soul, mind, spirit - there's something about us that's more important than disembodied pleasure organs. Art used to know that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:08 PM on January 17, 2013


Yeah, this piece is inarguably sort of visually boring--all that white, all those squares--but I gotta say, as someone who is a dyed-in-the-wool female chauvanist, I actually really love this piece. The concern about each vulva being separate from the rest of the woman doesn't really bug me--actually I think that's a good thing. The organ in question is just plain beautiful and fascinating, and it's SUCH a loaded political topic, still, that even showing skin color is likely to provoke all kinds of controversy.

Let's remove it from the political discourse, let's remove it from the functional presenation, let's remove it from babymaking or fucking or any kind of pose or whatever, let's get rid of all the cultural and interpersonal baggage and just freaking marvel at how cool girlie bits are. Stop and smell the roses, you know? In that case, the plain-white, life-size, up-close, no-frills, big grouping approach is really smart. Love it. Viva la vulva.
posted by Sublimity at 2:23 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


It reminds me of many soup cans in rows and columns. It may have some reflective and significant message there, but the message I'm lingering on involves the importance of not slurping soup.
posted by relish at 2:31 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


zarq, I hear you, and I'm sure it is hard for the artist to hear critiques of his work.

When you're an artist, you really have to put yourself out there, though, and you have to know that's going to happen. I don't think that means we shouldn't weigh in with our opinions on this exhibit. One of the reasons we have exhibitions is so we can reflect on what the art means to us, right?

Besides, I imagine that, after working on this for so many years, he's thought about this a lot, and heard a lot of differing opinions.

I'm wondering why he decided to make all the plaster casts that same white. Imagine the visual impact of neon green or purple vulvae.
posted by misha at 3:44 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just came here to say "vulva" and mention the Cunt Coloring Book by Tee Corinne. It was published in the 80s.... and it was amazing.
posted by geeklizzard at 6:37 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Just came here to say "vulva".
posted by benito.strauss at 7:50 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just called
to say
I vulva.
posted by Kabanos at 7:43 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Call it whatever you want, though - soul, mind, spirit - there's something about us that's more important than disembodied pleasure organs. Art used to know that.

....Some of the earliest art works are erotic art. When you say "art" used to know better, exactly what do you mean by "art"?

I get that erotic art is not to your taste and that's fine, but please don't make the sweeping generalization that eros is somehow lesser than any other human experience. After all, you owe your very existance to your parents' lust.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be fair, erotic art ≠ disembodied pleasure organs, though. These don't really arouse me at all, and I don't think they are intended to, if the artist's purpose is any indication, wheareas with erotic art, that's the primary intention. My point being that while I may owe my existence to my parents' lust, I have no reason to suppose they got off on headless, armless, legless vulvae, either.

I know that I, at least, prefer my (NSFW!) erotic art not composed entirely of disembodied body parts.

Of course, YMMV, and that's perfectly fine (but I think you were a bit hard on Charlemagne in Sweatpants).
posted by misha at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2013


A fair point, Misha, but I was getting the sense that charlemange was saying that eros should not be celebrated in art in general as opposed to "personally I don't think disembodied sex organs are sexy" in the specific. Or, at least that's the read I got on it. If I'm wrong, I'd be happy to have him correct me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:07 AM on January 18, 2013


Call me a prude but I don't want to see genitals, male or female, when I'm on my morning walk. It's all just body stuff, meat and fluids, and it's pretty perverse to elevate it.

Yeah, I see where you were getting that impression now, EC. I missed that on first read-through.
posted by misha at 11:18 AM on January 18, 2013


misha: " When you're an artist, you really have to put yourself out there, though, and you have to know that's going to happen. I don't think that means we shouldn't weigh in with our opinions on this exhibit. One of the reasons we have exhibitions is so we can reflect on what the art means to us, right?

I'm not saying you or anyone else shouldn't weigh in with your opinions. I feel perfectly comfortable saying I disagree with your assessment, after all.

However, I did (and still do) think it worth noting that the artist has made several public statements to the media about his work that directly address why he created it the way he did, using the medium he did, and in that particular color. They're available on his website if someone is interested in learning more.
posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on January 18, 2013


All concerns as to the nature of "art" aside, the vast vigorous vaunt of vulvae variation is vonderfully vivifying.
posted by Skygazer at 12:36 PM on January 18, 2013


A fair point, Misha, but I was getting the sense that charlemange was saying that eros should not be celebrated in art in general as opposed to "personally I don't think disembodied sex organs are sexy" in the specific. Or, at least that's the read I got on it. If I'm wrong, I'd be happy to have him correct me.

It's 'art' sure, but I thought erotic art was of more historical interest -letting us know what turned people on. When I think of art I want Renaissance figures, shining out of the canvas. Nervous Francis Bacon figures, William Bacon nerves, surrealism, the Sublime - anything larger than our petty lusts.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:39 PM on January 18, 2013


???

I tend not to like erotic art because a lot of it is trite and often reinforces a lot of dumb gender bullshit, but "our petty lusts"?

Erotic art isn't just a historical interest — it's both art and erotic. Duh.
posted by klangklangston at 3:52 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I think of art I want Renaissance figures, shining out of the canvas. Nervous Francis Bacon figures, William Bacon nerves, surrealism, the Sublime - anything larger than our petty lusts.

* blink *

What the hell do you think most surrealism is even about, dude?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 PM on January 18, 2013


What the hell do you think most surrealism is even about, dude?

Watches and pipes? Wait, no, not pipes.
posted by bongo_x at 5:04 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


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