Friday, February 20, 2009

Responses for February 27

Whitney Chadwick, “Separate but Unequal: Woman’s Sphere and the New Art,” Chapter 8, Women, Art, and Society, 4th ed. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2007), pp. 228-251.

Griselda Pollock, “Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity,” in The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, eds. Norma Broude and Mary Garrard (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992), pp. 244-267.

Norma Broude, “The Gendering of Impressionism,” in Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History After Postmodernism, eds. Norma Broude and Mary Garrard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 2216-233.

Norma Broude, “Degas’s ‘Misogyny,’” in Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany, eds. Norma Broude and Mary Garrard (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982), pp. 246-269.

Ruth E. Iskin, “Selling, Seduction, and Soliciting the Eye: Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère,” in Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History After Postmodernism, eds. Norma Broude and Mary Garrard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 234-257.


  1. One of the things i found interesting was how Impressionism was ok for men because it was looked at scientifically- back to that nature culture thing. Or nature science. And when she talked about that statue that is in the book, about nature exposing herself to science, I felt sick. It was just gratuitous to me. Anyway, I am having a hard time with the readings this week.

  2. I'm finding the reading, "Selling, Seduction, and Soliciting..." interesting. Especially about using women to sell goods; beautiful women at that. It hasn't really changed a bit has it. So the 19th century is what started what we know today as advertising, in a sense. We still use beautiful women today to sell; shoes, clothes, alcohol, magazines, theater/media. this new class of the working woman was the modern day of the advertising model.

    And you're not alone Trinity; this weeks readings are tough.

  3. I also thought that the reading about Impressionism only being ok for men was insane, to me and my modern views of course. But jeez, I mean women weren't allowed to do anything! If they went to a restaurant by themselves it was scandalize, but a man with his mistress was ok! Also, the most interesting thing to me was that it continued to talk about the gaze. I had no idea this motif was consistent throughout history. Again and again the idea of who's looking at who or where is vital to unraveling the social structure of the time period. The painting (I forgot what it's called and I don't have my book with me) with the woman looking at something in a store front and her husband looking at a picture of a naked woman was classic. Here is his wife, gazing at something she might want to purchase, probably trying to talk to her husband, and he is attempting to be discreet while ogling an "artsy" painting. This seems to still happen in modern day! I don't mean to be sexist or anything, but I see it all the time. It's just interesting to notice how some things never change...

    I'll go ahead and admit too, these readings are a little heavy.

  4. Everyone is brain dead this week- I don't blame you all; we've been wicked busy.

    Anyway, in "Degas's Misogyny", Broude talks about Degas's depiction of women being treated cruelly and presenting them in an unflattering manner. In his painting "Le Viol", Degas shows the aftermath of a rape. This reminded me of our discussion two weeks prior, when we talked about works with similar content (for example the painting of the women being auctioned off in a marketplace setting) are intended for the male viewer, as a kind of fantasy of women being submissive and mistreated.

    That's all, I'm going to try and discuss the readings more in class tomorrow.

  5. in Griselda pollock's essay, the image that summed up the reading is "A Oblique Look" from 1948. this being created well past the impressionist era, solidifies the topic of looking at women, for me anyway. from this image, it seems like the problem of obliviousness from a woman's perspective still remains. i understand the roles of both sexes being entrenched in the mind due to society, yet it's unbelievable that both genders still seem to not be paying attention to this and making any attempts to change. on a side note, when i saw this image and read about its meaning, all i could think of was it being a clip from a sexist version of the Three Stooges. i'd like to try and make the argument that the man does not gaze at the painting due to some idealized objectification of the feminine figure, rather, he may view the figure solely on the merit that the female form appears inherently more beautiful contrasted to the male body. he appreciate the greater perfection of the feminine over his "disgusting" body. however, my agrument will not hold weight with this image considering his wife is with him.

    i also feel the class systems of prolitarian and bourgeois with regards to woman as a whole gender is amazingly stupifying. this system of specification and power forced bourgeois women to despise the lower class woman because she had to get her hands dirty, if not other parts. "a woman is still a woman and should be treated as such." this must be one of the most cryptic sentences ever written or spoke.

  6. Pollock's essay Modernity and the spaces of femininity we're facing a similar issue with women again and that is unsexing themselves in the public sphere. Granted this time period is noted to be a great time of transitioning idea it goes back to adage of more things change the more things stay the same. We see that women still cannot travel, go out, take themselves to dinner by themselves, nothing without some moral shame brought upon them. Then looking at the women of Cassatt and Morisot that the "ladies" that they paint never look to happy to be in their position, especially the pieces referenced in the article. Is it me or does anyone else notice this?

  7. Reading the essay on the gendering of Impressionism really brought up interesting topics of science being compared to a masculine stereotype and nature being compared to the feminine one. I honestly never really understood how the comparisions worked to begin with, as science and nature have always seemed to especially mix to me, and I've never really seen it as two completely seperate subjects. During this time, critics seemed to divide the art world into unnecessary focuses of masculine vs. feminine. Even certain Impressionists were labelled as being "on the same level as a woman" as these criticisms demean women in a metaphorical manner. Other critics of the art at the time also really seemed to be desperate to come up with excuses of letting the art done by men never actually be on the level of women.

  8. In the Pollack reading, there was something else that was brought to light that I never considered because of the previous weeks' readings.

    The public/masculine sphere is the place where man goes to be himself in the crowd. He doesn't seek this refuge within his home space. This struck me as slightly strange considering that readings from last time described in great detail how the home was suppose to be the place of peace ans relaxation and were both mother and father enjoy the fruits and love of parenthood. The father is suppose to prefer the happy home in oppose to the hustle and bustle of city life and business.

    Instead, anonymity is refuge and the seclusion of oneself in the crowd is more cathartic. the openness of being just another face allows the male to get away with behaviors not suitable for home.

  9. Ok so this week hasn't been the best for computers and I. I’m bloging no matter what, and it's going to work!!!

    This week I got excited to learn about The American Arts and crafts Movement, as I read on, I realized that the term utopia was associated with this so-called Powerful Female Art Movement and my hopes were lost. Similar to the past few classes and saw again how women weren’t being seen as being serious in anything they did, as human beings or their art work, compared to that of a man. This Moment had great artist like: Mary Cassatt, Mary McLaughlin, Berthe Morisot, and Alice Barber Stephens. I’m happy to see a time where it was finally more common to see female Artist, but there subject matter is still limited, because of social reasoning. Which makes me think, if they were alive today what their work may have looked like, with less limitation?

    I fount the Degas Article to be interesting. In how the author described the artist painting shocking scenes of Rape, and paintings with double meanings. This stood out to me because for years Degas has always been know as the painter who painted pretty ballerinas out of perfect context. Which got me thinking that if this male artist was painting double meaning paintings to sell his work and paint what he wanted, then how many of the female painters did this? I know Mary Cassatt did, from a few of her more famous pieces but whom else during this period?

  10. I recall back during one of the survey classes with Ellen, that during the impresionism period there was discussion on degas; however, if I recall correctly there was little discussion on degas's "misogyny"--I'm taking another stance in this, that I'm sure not many students would agree with, but I don't believe that he was indeed a misogynist. It can be equated in his work that, yeah, there are signs of such, but to categorize him as one is taking it a little far. I look at it in terms of the time period, men had the upper hand. This reading was very interesting. Select words that stuck out to me were words like "discomfort", "so-called", and "angry". Some critics must have really not liked him. One of the most bold statements that I highlighted while reading was "It is not that he treats a woman as though she were a horse; he treats her with more savagery"...WOW! There was a citation that mentioned that "Degas enjoyed the company of women!" As in saying for goodness sake, lay off the man.
    Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to make excuses for me, but it's pretty bond to namely, call him out as someone who just doesn't like women especially because he lost his mother at a young age. It was said that he had a large family and that there were many female "figures" in his life--sisters, cousins, ect. I can't side with the fact that he, himself is misgoynistic; some of his work can be interpreted as such, but give credit, were credit is due...the time period.

  11. I really liked the Degas reading, for many reasons.

    We once talked about Degas and his personality in Remi’s drawing II or Composition class (one or the other, can’t remember), which he conducted almost like a seminar history discussion while we were working on our still life drawings. Remi (who, by the way, would probably really dig the atmosphere of this class) is definitely an authority on Degas because this article was a pretty close revue of that discussion. (I love when my classes sync up)

    A series of rhetorical/hypothetical questions arose from revisiting this topic.

    1. Why do you never hear of Degas’ supposed “misogyny”? Or Picasso’s for that matter. If you ask a hundred people (lay people, anybody) about Degas, I’m sure many of them would know him (“oh yeah, the ballerina dude”) but I doubt any would know about the stigma addressed in this article. I don’t subscribe to the idea that Degas was a misogynist but it’s definitely curious that nobody knows about it.

    2. What does this say about our society that this stigma has been forgotten?

    3. Should it matter to know about Degas’ view of women? Is his supposed “misogyny” just a contextual commonplace?

    You know exactly where Norma Broude is going with this essay from page one. Degas’ “Misogyny” – misogyny in quotes. This stigma is being refuted here. After the discussion in Remi’s class I got the impression that Degas was a hostile, opinionated curmudgeon whose eccentricities only allowed him to respect excellence, hence his relationship with Mary Cassatt. Remi made it sound like he was apathetic or hateful towards people or things he didn’t respect. This to me is a perfectly normal trait aligning with the complexities involved with being such an accomplished and prolific artist.

    The insinuation of misogyny here is an example of misinterpretation run amuck. It’s such a cliché; the mad genius is completely misunderstood so society creates meaning that isn’t there and his paintings are measured against his personality.

    It’s especially strange for this stigma to have been created when examining a life of someone who fervently respected and adored many women.

    The part that really hit home for me was the absence of “flattery” of his female subjects. Critics attributed Degas’ honest portrayal of women as misogyny. I heard this all the time as caricaturist in the theme parks. I would draw some “interesting” (to put it delicately) people from Detroit or Cleveland who had some “interesting” facial characteristics. Whenever I jacked a man’s face up it was funny, but to treat an equally unique (nice way of saying “fugly”) female’s face with the same honesty was met with such distain. The expectation here was prettiness. “Why are you so mean to women?” I wasn’t. I was democratically brutal. I’m just like Degas, thank god!
    It’s so interesting to see these adherences to gender roles alive even today. Cassatt’s quote about looking “repugnant” in Degas’ portrait is so familiar. In the theme park, women rarely enjoyed the “honesty”. If you were honest they thought you were being villainous. I think it has a lot to do with the male artist female subject relationship. The same portrayal of women by women would have been analyzed so much differently. The female customers almost always gravitated to the artists that drew caricatures that looked nothing like the subject. We called them “Stampers”. “For $20, I’ll give you a safe stamp (sketch) that looks nothing like you, because you don’t like the way you look because you subscribe to societal gender roles.” Later in my career I stopped being so “honest” with the female customers (drawing them pretty) and I started breaking company sales records.
    An unflattering caricature does not fly in the midsouth either (more so here). I don’t even bother. It gets kind of boring drawing pretty faces all day.

  12. distain = disdain, revue = review. (there's probably more) I'm in college.
    C'MON KEVIN!!!

    Spell check is no friend of mine.