Today's Inspiration- VALIE

by - Thursday, March 27, 2014

Has anyone noticed that even though everyone seems to get that women are being objectified, that this is not a new argument like it was when Export began work as an artist in the 60's, it has gotten even worse? That it continues to be unavoidable to see women used as props. I have lots of theories about online porn, which I mostly don't share here for the benefit of my grandmother who sometimes reads this, but I think this is part of the issue. We actually have less of this now, because we no longer have tv, but we are watching season 3 of Game of Thrones right now, and there are more boob and butt shots than a show about pointless conflict ever needs. Just so many boobs, but I think there has been one penis (and it belonged to a gay character, which begs the question of just how sacred heterosexual penises are). Not to mention

That is annoying. What is even worse is how often conversations between women come right back to weight loss or general displeasure about how they look. Ack. This is a bummer for so many reasons, but first and foremost it points to us (and I definitely include myself in this) internalizing that much our value comes from our ability to give visual pleasure. What I love about this work by VALIE EXPORT is that it is a violent antagonistic rejection of this narrative which still looms so large today.

Aktionhose: Genitalpanik, Valie Export, 1968- from fyeahfeministart.tumblr.com
The work- Aktionshose:Genitalpanik- has accrued a number of narratives about it. The performance is documented only with this picture, but the image is so provoking, you can see why people might embellish the story around it. In the performance, Export walked into a theater (people sometimes say a porn theater, but I think it was actually an art house theater) in this outfit, pointing a gun at men and inviting them to look at her. How this went isn't broadly unknown, and in fact, when Marina Abramovic reperformed the work in 7 Easy Pieces, she just performed the photograph. In some ways, it is more effective as an image- we are so used to women being presented in a very specific way in photographs, and here, she defies them. Hope you feel inspired by this when you see some music video grossness, etc.

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