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Star Maiden, Walking Liberty
July 12, 2008 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Descending Night, Audrey Munson [Nudity]

via feuilleton
posted by carsonb (16 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

Wow, she "spent the final 65 years of her life in a mental institution" - even for someone who lived to be 105, that's way over half of her life - so saying "the final..." seems to be oddly insensitive, or very dryly ironic.

Quite a beauty, though, and a weirdly tragic story.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:28 PM on July 12, 2008

Incidentally, the "final 65 years" quote is not from the posters links, but from another linked page towards the bottom of the "Audrey Munson" link (see here).
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:29 PM on July 12, 2008

Whoa. I had lunch next to a copy of that Calder sculpture this past Wednesday. Its feet freak me out.
posted by strangecargo at 10:58 PM on July 12, 2008

That is the stuff. Great link.

That death at 105 was in 1996, for godssake. She probably had an email adress.
posted by mwhybark at 12:30 AM on July 13, 2008

NYT: Audrey Munson is out of danger.

AUDREY MUNSON IS OUT OF DANGER; Model Who Attempted Suicide by Poison Will Recover. Her Physician Says. PENITENT, WANTS TO LIVE Says Powerful Influences Persecute Her--Silent About a Telegram Believed From Fiance.

And that's just the headline.
posted by zippy at 12:59 AM on July 13, 2008

Reminds me of this... so often we see sculpted faces and don't think twice about who they might've originally belonged to. Nice post.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:01 AM on July 13, 2008

Oooh, that second link quotes me and is hosting one of my photos without permission...

Munson certainly had an interesting life. It is not clear where she grew up (Rhode Island or upstate New York), but if it was the latter she would have gone to the same school around the same time as my grandfather and his older sister. They died long before Munson was rediscovered so I never had the chance to ask them about her.

The book, American Venus, that is mentioned in the Silent Porn Star link has problems. It is filled with errors that even rudimentary fact-checking would have caught and there are accusations of plagiarism.

Andrea Geyer, a German artist living in New York has produced a number of works and a book about Munson.

Thanks for the post, carsonb!
posted by plastic_animals at 5:58 AM on July 13, 2008

She appeared nude. She was not a porn star any more than the Venus de Milo was a porn star.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:05 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Drinking bichloride of mercury is a sure-fire means of becoming mad as a hatter. Not a very good choice for attempting suicide.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 AM on July 13, 2008

She appeared nude. She was not a porn star any more than the Venus de Milo was a porn star.

That's very true. But it's the name of the blog. And if you're gonna make a blog about girls who appeared naked during the silent film era, ya gotta sex it up to attract those hip youngster kids of today.

Frankly, I think in a lot of ways we're much more uptight about nudity in America now than we were back then. People tend to automatically sexualize the naked human form (and judge the people who are comfortable with theirs in public) instead of observing/respecting the simple beauty and art of it. Who knows, maybe nowadays she would be seen as a pornstar in a way.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2008

People tend to sexualize the naked child's form these days. Snapshot of your baby in the bathtub? OMG, call the cops!

Purest lunacy.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:49 AM on July 13, 2008

I've been meaning to use an AskMe to find out more about the Star Maiden sculpture, and here MeFi delivers more than I ever would have anticipated.
posted by lekvar at 10:09 AM on July 13, 2008

miss lynnster: I think in a lot of ways we're much more uptight about nudity in America now than we were back then.

The nude girl in Maxfield Parrish's Daybreak was eleven years old.

In the '20s, it was the was popular print in America, selling millions, until it was in in something like every fifth household.

Parrish would be in jail if he tried to sell that in 21st-century America.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 11:39 AM on July 13, 2008

Exactly. I recall reading (possibly on here) about a photographer getting arrested for pornography for the naked images of her daughter that were featured in her art portfolio. Honestly, it's so depressing. Plus, that sexualization is *such* a bad lesson to girls, telling them that a good woman will always be ashamed of and hide her body instead of seeing the beauty of nature in the mirror or allowing others to.

Of course it's only natural that some girls would automatically want to rebel against that kind of pressure... and voila! Joe Francis is a gazillionaire.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:41 PM on July 13, 2008

This Site of Memory, a mapping of Audrey Munson's life.
posted by carsonb at 11:07 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is an amazing story.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:07 PM on August 1, 2008

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