Talk

Advanced search

to think that Allen Jones RA exhibition on now is tot offensive to women[and I mean TOTALLY: LOOK IT UP]

(21 Posts)
jazzsyncopation Wed 19-Nov-14 23:46:46

saw article with photos in a sunday and felt physically sick.this stuff should be banned not put in prestigious art galleries

JazzAnnNonMouse Thu 20-Nov-14 07:46:31

Do you have a link?

JeanSeberg Thu 20-Nov-14 07:47:40

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/11vm5Ph7hTxjCBSJ8YdCz68/the-power-of-desire-allen-jones-at-the-ra

VikingVolva Thu 20-Nov-14 08:00:13

I also dislike the first paragraph:

"Forty four years on from the debut showing of artworks Chair, Table and Hatstand, the debate has yet to die down. These life-sized, submissive, fibreglass female figures dressed in fetish wear were decried in the '70s by feminists – and others – as being demeaning to women."

Though I suppose feminists do sometimes voluntarily self-identify as "other"

I have less difficulty with this being on exhibition somewhere like RA, especially if accompanying material is challenging the viewer about what they are seeing.

sejt Thu 20-Nov-14 08:03:35

Wow. Awful no matter how he intellectualises it or rationalises it

AuntieStella Thu 20-Nov-14 08:06:42

Does the exhibition include any words from the artist about this collection? I mean the original comment from the 1970s, not just anything said recently.

BarbarianMum Thu 20-Nov-14 08:11:18

I dunno. I think the pieces are a pretty powerful statement about how women are often viewed. So I guess whether I mind or not depends on the intention behind them, or possibly on the debate they engender. (Not really an art lover so not sure which should be more important).

Certainly don't think they should be banned though.

Beehatch Thu 20-Nov-14 08:11:47

I saw him interviewed on TV recently and his argument is that they are 'of their time' and should be seen in that context. The interviewer made it pretty clear at the end that he disagreed and they are demeaning. Sorry I don't recall the programme.

Andrewofgg Thu 20-Nov-14 08:12:10

You can't suppress history. It's like reprinting Uncle Tom's Cabin or that show about Seventies television. Or a historical programme about TV advertising which includes Players Please or the Hamlet cigars adverts.

Or indeed much of Shakespeare. The Taming of the Shrew is sexist, Othello is racist, and of course there's The Merchant of Venice.

And anyone taking the manuscript of Lolita to an agent today would probably get his collar felt.

Hatespiders Thu 20-Nov-14 08:20:11

I see them as thought-provoking examples of how women can be objectified in a completely demeaning way. If so, then they are 'on the side of feminism'.

Fairly recently there was an exhibition showing real black people inside chambers, chained up or restrained in various ways. It too was shocking and I believe was closed down due to numerous complaints. But the same defence applies: such exhibits provoke enormous debate and maybe a realisation and understanding of moral points so graphically demonstrated.

I found this shocking, yes, but it challenges the mind very effectively.

DoJo Thu 20-Nov-14 08:32:24

In his own words: "I was reflecting on and commenting on exactly the same situation that was the source of the feminist movement. It was unfortunate for me that I produced the perfect image for them to show how women were being objectified. Smoke bombs... were thrown at my ICA show in 1978… It was tough stuff and I wasn't expecting it."

It sounds to me as though the pieces were throwing a light on the objectification of women, not glorifying the practice.

jazzsyncopation Thu 20-Nov-14 10:24:58

I agree with some of the very good points being made here; but I still think many people would also use this sort of art as a cunningly hypocritical way of getting offensive porn, yet still taking the moral high ground: like some anti-war films that overluxuriate in the violence portrayed.
The man who landed the probe on the meteor apparently had to make a "tearful" public apology for wearing a stupid shirt with non-nude women on it during a tv interview; also the 'date-coach' guy's been banned from the country.....I'm not seeing how this guy get's lauded: either the media/columnists/whatever have'nt picked up on it-or maybe it's some cultural snobbery about Art.

Babycham1979 Thu 20-Nov-14 12:16:50

'saw article with photos in a sunday and felt physically sick.this stuff should be banned not put in prestigious art galleries'

Please tell me this is a parody? Or have you swallowed a copy of the Daily Heil?

crazyspaniel Thu 20-Nov-14 12:22:57

An interesting topic / thread. However, I don't see any comparison between this artist and the gender terrorist Julien Blanc, etc. To me (and I say this as a feminist) the furniture sculptures are deliberately provocative and, if anything, expose and ridicule male pornographic expectations and the stereotyping of women as both sexual and domestic objects.

I also see Allen's work as a critical intervention in the long artistic tradition of representing the female body. His work calls attention to those processes of representation that previous painters and sculptors have availed themselves of, and which are almost invariably fetishistic and voyeuristic (right from the classical and renaissance periods to the nineteenth century) but which are, perhaps, more insidious because those processes and intentions are glossed over. This is more-or-less the same kind of argument about ideology and the female nude which John Berger later made in "Ways of Seeing". And while earlier sculptors introduced qualities of tactility into their work to make the female form alluring, there is something cold and anti-tactile about these works (the materials used, in particular) that is actually very confronting. I have yet to meet any man who has viewed these works who did not find them unsettling. So, no, I don't think many people will be using this kind of work as a means of accessing or legitimating porn. I also think that art should sometimes confront and provoke us and point to issues of representation and history - I found it very disappointing that the exhibition / performance at the Barbican about slavery mentioned above was shut down by a vocal minority. The only problem about that exhibition, as far as I'm concerned, is that the kind of people who would have gone to see it would probably not have been the ones who most need to confront and learn about that aspect of Western history. Perhaps the same is true of this exhibition at the RA.

Also, I don't think it's necessarily true that Allen Jones is lauded, OP - his work has been controversial, and still is. There was an article about him recently by Zoe Williams (I think) in the Guardian which argued that his work was sexist. The problem is that every representation of the female body faces accusations of sexism, unless it is made by a woman. In fact, if you look at feminist art (which also dates from the 1960s) a lot of it looks very similar to Jones's work, ie. it is just as provocative and uses similar shock tactics in relation to the female body.

jazzsyncopation Fri 21-Nov-14 12:07:39

babysham :your 'superior'(?) comment,while rude and offensive,is at least less so than said exhibition...if tabloid newspapers printed these photos , would that make it okay to disaprove?

jazzsyncopation Fri 21-Nov-14 12:33:39

ps babycham again, my last post omitted to say that commenting on my writing style was irrelevant to the point I was making(btw I literally felt sick) hope this writing style meets with your approval-dont claim to be an expert

Callani Fri 21-Nov-14 13:01:30

I don't think they're bad enough to be banned per se (unlike the Human Zoo exhibit recently) but apart from anything else the sculptures are just bad.

I also think it's funny that so many male artists who make art to "explore the objectification of women" create things that are completely indistinguishable from the thing they're supposed to be critiquing. Like Dapper Laughs who, when challenged on his misogynist show, claimed that it was ironic and a satire... yeah right.

Ev1lEdna Fri 21-Nov-14 13:54:25

You could suppose they make a statement about how women are treated but I believe that is never how they were fully intended by Allen Jones. I know this is a rather dubious piece of anecdotal evidence I'm about to write but I once knew an ex-girlfriend of the artist. She was the wife of an academic colleague, this was quite a few years ago and in the course of my work I had come across the 'women as furniture' series and the paintings of heeled women on tightropes, I was extremely annoyed by them and she told me about her connection. I was told that his art is indicative of his general approach and opinion of women. As I say I know this is 3rd hand and anecdotal (and therefore tenuous in the extreme and you can disregard) but that discussion and some research on his work suggested to me that he wasn't really exploring the objectification of women in a feminist way at least.

That said, I don't think they should be banned at all, not all art is the kind of thing we agree with and it should produce discussion and commentary. It is of it's time and as such it is a reflection of that period in art history in as much as previous nudes etc. have been, these can be regarded as classics but look further into it and you will find it isn't all pretty nude paintings and there is far more under the surface. It isn't my kind of art and I admit that even after all this time I still have an angry reaction to it but it is still art which provokes an emotional response in the voyeur and I think we should feel confronted by some art and it should pose questions and emotions which can be difficult.

I found this post by crazyspaniel very interesting and I agree with what has been said here, although I'm not convinced Allen Jones was fully exploring a feminist cause, the work in nevertheless intriguing for how the viewer can interpret it.

His work calls attention to those processes of representation that previous painters and sculptors have availed themselves of, and which are almost invariably fetishistic and voyeuristic (right from the classical and renaissance periods to the nineteenth century) but which are, perhaps, more insidious because those processes and intentions are glossed over. This is more-or-less the same kind of argument about ideology and the female nude which John Berger later made in "Ways of Seeing". And while earlier sculptors introduced qualities of tactility into their work to make the female form alluring, there is something cold and anti-tactile about these works (the materials used, in particular) that is actually very confronting.

MonstrousRatbag Fri 21-Nov-14 15:06:28

I don't like his work at all. I'd never support banning it though-it is part of a legitimate debate about how women are portrayed, how people respond to that and why.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 21-Nov-14 16:20:16

Not as offensive as the posters that "Suit Supply" had on view a couple of years ago.

outofcontrol2014 Fri 21-Nov-14 16:30:54

Sounds to me like the RA are trying to make a bunch of cash by doing something 'controversial' that is likely to light up Twitter.

/cynical

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now