Is It Time to Throw Out the Term ‘Muse’? – ARTnews.com

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At the beginning of the 20th century, Milanese’s heir, Marquesa Lisa Cassati, dyed her hair in bold red, saw Belladonna in her eyes, widened her pupils, gave off a devilish charm, and captivated those who were on track. bottom. Artists Man Ray, Giacomo Balla and Kees van Dongen were one of the famous modernists who received her spells. However, it was the female artist and painter Romaine Brooks who painted the most provocative portraits of Casati.

Brooks Portrait of Louisa Kaserti (1920) depicts a lithe heir wearing only a thin black cloth that rarely hides her naked body. She stands in a rocky niche, her arm on one side of her is pressed against the edge of the painting, and the cloth falls around her, looking like a bat. Kasati deliberately stares at her viewer with a gaze that Brooks must have been familiar with, as she had tricked her longtime partner into guiding her sexual relationship with Kasati.

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When most of us talk about muses throughout art history, we don’t think of the kind of Casati that influenced her portrait painter to some extent. Instead, we generally think of women shattered by the men who portrayed them, cruelly shaking their canvases as part of their power play. These women are usually perceived as a combination of Caucasians, Europeans, non-disabled people, heterosexuals, and cisgender. They seem to have played no role in creating their image, and were victims of it.

It’s all a new book by critic Ruth Millington Muse: Reveals the hidden figures behind masterpieces of art history (Pegasus) A provocative book. Early on, Millington called the traditional view of the muse “oversimplified,” “arguably rethinking the muse and regaining them from the reducing stereotypes, throughout art history. It’s time to uncover their true, involved, diverse roles. “

Millington has responded to numerous articles since the start of the #MeToo movement, which calls for the end of the artist-muse relationship.In her introduction, she quotes Guardian Critic Jonathan Jones writes, “It’s time to lock this ridiculous word into the attic.” (Nevertheless, Jones continues to use the word “muse” in his reviews.) His point of view may be towards the more extreme end of things, but of Celia Paul and Francoise Gilot. Artists like Lucian Freud and Pablo Picasso, respectively, and some women modeled after Chuck Close and Terry Richardson have accused the artist of sexual misconduct, but both have denied. ..

A larger view of the issue of being a muse has dominated a spectacular proportion in the last few years, which certainly shows us how almost every artist and muse connection is exposed to a power imbalance. Made me more aware. If anything, as Millington suggests, we haven’t learned enough from this ongoing debate. She may be doing something with her too.

Take Picasso’s lover, artist Dora Maar, as an example. He shouted her eyes and made a famous expression. “Women are machines for suffering,” Picasso once said. According to Millington, Picasso was “abuse” to Marl. There is evidence that he never left his wife while the two were having an affair and may have hit Marl at least once. However, there is one intriguing detail to Millington about Picasso’s most famous portrait of Marl. Weeping woman (1937): “You can see the silhouette of a fighter on behalf of each student,” Millington writes. Millington reads this as a reference to the left-wing anti-war sentiment that Marl often favored. Perhaps her politics scraped Picasso.

Marl, who was a photographer herself, is one of the most well-known names in Millington’s books. Most others are unfamiliar to the average reader. Another is Helenduma, the daughter of the painter Marlene Dumas. Lawrence Alloway is a critic who posed nude for a portrait that reverses a man’s gaze by his partner feminist painter Sylvia Sleigh. Elizabeth Siddal painted by several Pre-Raphaelite painters in 19th century England. Lira Nunez, who appears in Paula Rego’s paintings, appeared in the artist’s recent retrospective of Tate Britain.

Surprisingly, Millington’s book also includes a significant number of men. One of the most thrilling chapters of the book is a short chapter given to young Chinese photographer Pixy Liao’s Japanese boyfriend Takahiro “Moro” Morooka. In one image, naked Morooka is lying on the table, covering his genitals with fruit. Ryo sitting nearby smokes a cigarette and stares at the camera. “Use Moro as a muse,” Millington wrote. “Liao presents and celebrates an alternative version of how the male-female relationship works.”

Such statements run the risk of increasing putts, and Millington seems to focus on acting faster than on art-historical deep-sea dives. She has a habit of asking unanswered questions and weakening these open queries with statements that later appear to avoid the problem.

One chapter focuses on Anna Christina Olson, a young woman with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease who appeared in Andrew Wyeth’s famous paintings. Christina’s World (1948). In it, Olson sits in a field and looks at a nearby house. “It’s clear that Weiss never turned his attention to Olson’s body to present her as her’freak’,” Millington wrote. “But maybe he blew her obstacles with an airbrush?” That’s a question worth asking, especially as Weiss used his unimpaired wife Betsy as a model when drawing the work. But then, towards the end of the chapter, Millington makes a flat claim that “Weiss paid homage to his best friend and the everyday experience of Muse, which he admired at many levels.”

There are other times when Millington really wants to sink her teeth into her material and mine it for everything it’s worth. Hungarian Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gill is called many times.Millington mentions Portrait as a Tahitian In (1934), Shergill poses in the guise of a woman in Paul Gauguin’s painting of his muse. “She regains herself,” Millington wrote, but she doesn’t say she did so only by the artist cosplaying as a Polynesian woman.

Ironically, these omissions only further emphasize the heart of Millington’s book. Much more is being said about the muse. And, as Millington points out exactly, it may be surprising how much disinformation there is about them.

In the case of Frida Kahlo, who often mentions Millington as a muse, it’s like a proto-feminist strategy. In one of her memorable paintings, Carlo sat in a chair with scissors, she seemed to cut her hair until she was as short as a man, and her around her legs. I’m leaving it locked. Carlo’s way of robbing the men around her, including her husband Diego Rivera, of her own image of trying to siege her was to make a photo of her becoming one of them.

In 2021, the Museum of Modern Art, which owns paintings, Tweeted the image It turns out that the quote for that work was not written by Carlo, but by a teenager using the website PostSecret in 2008, 54 years after Carlo’s death. How does one of the world’s leading museums cause such problems? Millington may suggest that it is related to the historical record gap. “Identifying and understanding the living experience of the muse depicted adds real depth to the understanding of the famous artwork,” Millington wrote. The points I took.

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