Art, Concepts, Julie Seyler, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Times, The Write Side of 50, Venezuela
This has the potential to be a politically incorrect blog. But here goes: The New York Times reported that mannequins in Venezuela are produced according to the populace’s ideal perception of women. This means oversized bosoms, small waists and palpable hips and buttocks. In fact, in Venezuela, augmentation surgery is openly discussed and accepted, at least by the persons interviewed for the article:
Cosmetic procedures are so fashionable here that a woman with implants is often casually referred to as “an operated woman.” Women freely talk about their surgeries, and mannequin makers jokingly refer to the creations as being “operated” as well.
The article indicated some feminist outcry to the notion that perfect beauty resides in the form of an hourglass. But nothing like what would erupt in the United States should the Playboy model once again emerge as an emblem of the ideal body. I can neither pass judgment nor analyze a culture far removed from mine. But it did start me thinking about depictions of the female form.
When I wander around the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I am always entranced by the sculptures depicting women that have been excavated from the ancient burial sites of Greece, Mycenae and Cyprus. Some of these figurines date as far back as 4500 B.C. They are beautiful. Modern art thousands of years ago. I wander from gallery to gallery picking out old favorites, and discovering new ones. In the end, it is obvious – there is nothing new about hips and bosoms.
Actually, the collective unconscious that has sculpted, shall we say mannequins, goes much further back than a mere 5,513 years. Thirty-five thousand years ago, sculptures carved from mammoths’ tusks and limestone, that can only be described as zaftig were being created throughout Europe. They are known as Venus figures. So, when you think about it, the earliest artists ever, those that lived before history had a starting date, depicted their ideal women as voluptuous:
I guess the Venezuelan mannequins can be viewed as simply a bridge to prehistory.
Is the bridge to prehistory also a tie to female oppression and discrimination?
This such an interesting statement. Please explain more, or better yet- even though you are on the left side of 50- write a blog! xo
Victor Hellwege said:
Oversized bosom, small waist , palpable hips and buttocks? Do you really think that we all read Playboy just for the articles? I think we need to separate what constitutes “beauty” from “eye candy”. If in fact we are talking about eye candy then yes I am guilty of having dined on the forbidden fruit. But that doesn’t make me any lower a life form than all the women who are checking out professional male athletes butts or who slavishly harbor fantasies involving celebrites/rock stars. As Dooley Wilson crooned so long ago, ” Man must have his woman and woman must have a mate…” . Service,return, ….Volley?
It’s always great to know that someone has a reaction, but I am curious and a little surprised that you see the blog piece as me being somewhat “outraged.” Is that the right word? That was not the driving force behind the blog. What intrigued me was the article in the Times on the mannequin business in Venezuela. The link to that article is in the blog. Did you happen to read it?
Anyway all of my thoughts were spurred from it. It got me thinking about the 5th century BC figurines found in the ancient Greek and Cypriot galleries that I am always checking out when I go to the Met. (Also a link in blog.) And then I just started riffing on the amazing beauty, passion and modernity of these sculptures. I mean think about it- 35,000 years ago some man or woman was creating “art.” Also, I pointedly state I am not rendering an opinion on Venezuelan culture. I can’t; I don’t have enough facts. But I do have enough facts to state I know there would be a LOUD hue and cry in the U.S. over the Venezuelan business strategy discussed in the article.