Jack Balas, 2015; THE WACK CATALOG (FEMINISM UNCOVERED) (#1211) (Muse/Museum Series); watercolor and acrylic on paper, 15" x 22"
This painting, like the Lynda Benglis piece, is a tricky inclusion in the Muse/Museum series. I have feminist friends who have expressed concern that I might be poking fun at the Feminist movement. I would encourage them to keep the image within the context of the rest of the series, in which in a variety of ways I am responding to, or countering, the propensity of the art world to reproduce, at times unthinkingly, images of female nudity, to the exclusion of male images. The text on this painting is a verbatim quote from an article in the Summer, 2007, issue of ArtForum (p. 211). In it, art historian Richard Meyer discusses the catalog produced for a 2007 exhibition named "WACK ! Art And the Feminist Revolution" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Included among the controversial artworks was the catalog's cover image, Martha Rosler's "Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: Hot House, or Harem" (1966-72). (Image below). I think it's easy to see what a simple substitution I've offered in this painting for that magazine (and catalog) image. Why shouldn't we see an image of a beautiful nearly-naked dude in bed? But I'm especially pleased that the image can engender another round of discussion among viewers as to the tenets of the original exhibition, not to mention of the Feminist movement itself.