Exhibition view, “The Female Gaze: Woman Look at Women,” at Cheim & Read. Pictured works include Victoria Civera’s Searcher (far left) and Vanessa Beecroft’s Blonde Figure Lying (floor).
Through September 19, 2009, Cheim & Read will show “The Female Gaze: Women Look At Women.” Featured are works by women of women, with aim to reorient the typically-male framing of women in art. Works range in medium from the paintings of Alice Neel and Lisa Yuskavage to the sculptures of Kara Walker, the text poems of Jenny Holzer and the photographs by Diane Arbus, the installations by Louise Bourgeois and even collage work by Ellen Gallagher.
Cheim & Read – Exhibition – The Female Gaze [Cheim and Read]
Now Hanging: Girlie Show [The Moment Blog, New York Times]
The Female Gaze, The Cheim and Read Gallery, New York [Financial Times]
The Female Gaze: Women look at Women [Artforum]
“The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women” at Cheim & Reid [Contemporary Art Daily]
Cindy Sherman, Untitled, at Cheim & Read.
According to the gallery, in her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” in the section titled “Woman as Image, Man as Bearer of the Look,” Laura Mulvey writes that “the determining male gaze projects its fantasy on to the female form which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness.” The exhibition at Cheim & Read seeks to break this voyeur-object relationship in the depiction of the female form, as it is substituted with a woman-woman narrative. Jenny Holzer shows selections from her “Lustmord” text, words by the perpetrator, victim, and observer of a violent sexual act. Shirin Neshat photographs an unhappy bride on her wedding day. An installation by Louise Bourgeois militarizes a male-dominated Couple, while Sarah Lucas recreates the female figure out of a chair in an objectification of body.
Jenny Holzer, Untitled (Selections from “Lustmord”), at Cheim & Read.
Shirin Neshat, Pari, at Cheim & Read.
Louise Bourgeois, Couple, at Cheim & Read.
Sarah Lucas, Cigarette Tits II (Idealized Smoker’s Chest II), at Cheim & Read.
Less obviously embattled, however, are the women of Mickalene Thomas and Ellen Gallagher, in whose works a racial pride is evident. Catherine Opie has one of the most arresting photographs in the show: an average woman next to a surfboard, no make-up, treasured by the simplicity of the piece. The exhibition also includes a image by Marina Abramovic called Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful, so that the piece is named by the viewer’s/its own expectations. In other words, these artists attempt to redefine beauty, or — at least — to expose its definitions.
Mickalene Thomas, A-E-I-O-U and Sometimes Y, at Cheim & Read.
Ellen Gallagher, Bouffant Pride, at Cheim & Read.
Catherine Opie, Rachel, at Cheim & Read.
Marina Abramovic, Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful, at Cheim & Read.
Other featured artists, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Cindy Sherman, and Berenice Abbot present traditional portraits, while Kara Walker’s is more ethnically charged. Deborah Kass and Roni Horn have flipped the classic Warhol pop paintings, and Diane Arbus looks at a girl who would be Twiggy, but is too ordinary: she has shinier lipstick and beginner jowls. Alice Neel and Maria Lassnig’s women are more despondent than not; Marilyn Minter shows the beautifully grotesque, and Marlene Dumas, a sad and sarcastic look at the male-female confrontation. Lightsource, the title reads, with the woman’s face shrouded in shadow.
Julia Margaret Cameron, May Prinsep (Head of St. John), at Cheim & Read.
Kara Walker, Untitled, at Cheim & Read.
Berenice Abbott, Mme. Theodore Van Rysselberghe, at Cheim & Read.
Deborah Kass, Double Red Barbara (The Jewish Jackie Series), at Cheim & Read.
Roni Horn Untitled (Isabelle Huppert), at Cheim & Read.
Diane Arbus, Blonde Girl With Shiny Lipstick, N.Y.C, at Cheim & Read.
Maria Lassnig, Girl With Wine Glass, at Cheim & Read.
Tracy Emin, Legs IV via Contemporary Art Daily
Marilyn Minter, Wangechi Gold 3, at Cheim & Read.
Lisa Yuskavage, Heart via Contemporary Art Daily
Marlene Dumas, Lightsource, at Cheim & Read.
- R. Fogel