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Porn? Art?

By 11/05/2021June 1st, 2021No Comments

What does it mean to me to be a female artist?

This is a question I have been hesitant to explore as I feel there shouldn’t be such a double standard between men and women in the creative industry. Experiencing frustration through being judged as a young female artist whilst being expected to have an understanding of feminism within art and society has taken its toll on me this year as I feel I can’t create the art I really want to create without opening up all these preasumtions as to what the art work means and who I am as a person.

Constantly battling between completely ignoring this question, learning about other influential female artists and feminist art movements I have come to the realisation whether I like it or not me creating work exploring the female body is feminist artwork. This may seem obvious but I shied away from labeling my work feminist artwork as I don’t usually have any particular message I want to convey through my work and thought of my work more like music where everyone can have their own interpritation whether it’s positive or negative. Whilst this was my mind set I was expected to have a deep meaning behind my art work as many other women who explore similar aesthetics and visual ideas as myself mostly have a powerful point they want to convey but I felt I truly didn’t and I was being forced to almost act supressed and get in touch with all my struggles as a young woman even when I didn’t want to and didn’t see it as relevent.

Hannah Wilke                                                        Betty Tompkins                                          Carolee Schneemann

These 3 artworks are all feminist artworks created by feminist artists from 1960s to 1970s. These are some of my favourite artists who fall under the category of feminist artists from this time period and they all have one thing in common, they weren’t taken seriously until years into their practices as their figurative artwork was considered pornography by the predominantly male art sellers, critics and audience who viewed it.

Men had been painting nude women for years and this was never seen as anything but art. In the era of avant-garde feminism from the 1960s-1970s groups of women such as ‘Womens Art Revolution’ lead by Judy Chicago there was an uprising of female artists who chose to work with their bodies creating objectively provocative figurative pieces commenting on the suppression of women in society and within the world of art.

Hardly any of these artists were taken seriously. The art involving female nudity was considered pornography, the performance art mimicking women’s absurd place in society was considered a joke and the sculptural work was just purely considered not art and usually offended the male viewers.

Nowadays in 2021 the world of art is very accepting of feminist art as movements such as avant-garde feminism, Womens Art Revolution and the creation Woman House have influenced many more women to create and many men to broaden the spectrum as to what art can be.

 

What’s the difference between art and porn?

I googled this question and this was the top result:

First: Pornography is sexually explicit, while art is not. “Art reveals in concealing, whereas pornography conceals in revealing,” he simplifies. Acker’s film, obviously, doesn’t conceal much.

I’m not sure if I agree with this statement as art can be and has been sexually explicit, art can be extremely revealing and usually is as people create based on very personal subjects based on their experiences, body, or mind.

 

My personal definition of the difference between porn and art is simply the intention of the artist. I think if the creator of the content wants the material to be seen to create sexual pleasure then this is porn but if the intention was not to create sexual pleasure it is not. This can be confusing though as even if someone did not create content to be seen as porn one could choose to perceive it as pornography and gain sexual pleasure from it.

It is clear within society women’s bodies are significantly more sexualized than males bodies. Women are so helpless to the fact our bodies will be sexualized whether we like it or not so when we do choose to show our bodies it is generally seen as a form of longing for sexual attention as this is the usual reaction to women’s bodies. To me, this is why I think women using their own bodies within art is sometimes seen as too provocative or pornography as whether they intend to or not a woman’s naked body may stimulate sexual desire whereas a man’s naked body especially in a form where it is clearly intended to be art is not.

Experimenting with what is pornography and what is art:

Creating provocative-looking images with edited photos of my body and blurring them to appear ruder.

Showing nudity as a female is a controversial issue within society and always has been. whether it’s the fact it’s socially unacceptable for a woman to be completely topless in public and acceptable for men or the fact women are often shamed for seeking sexual desire or lack of sexual desire. Even in the sixteenth-century women weren’t allowed to view the pornographic sculptures as they were seen as too provocative and they were strictly for men. Even though this was many years ago some unwritten rules still lie within the society of how men and women have completely different standards of how they should view and act towards sex and nudity.

Ancient Peruvian and Egyptian Pornography:

Clay Sculptures:

Combining the photo edits of different areas of my body creating phallic shapes and the idea of sculptural pornography. These sculptures are experiments of how to display the naked body in a none sexualized way along with displaying my literal body as I created these by just squeezing balls of clay leaving my hand imprints on each sculpture.

Sketchbook planning the sculpture: