Oh, StumbleUpon, the things you bring me.
The video’s titled “Women in Art,” which I originally thought meant “Female artists over time,” and I expected to see either a documentary, or a montage of some women’s work, or– since the frozen frame was a painting of a woman’s face– maybe a montage of self-portraits. (Wouldn’t that be cool? A montage of women’s self-portraits?)
Instead, it’s a montage of completely random women who were the subjects of art. (Why is it that subject usually means “person who does something,” but in art, it means “object of the sentence, who is being paintED?” Shouldn’t the artist be the subject of the painting? But I suppose then we’d have to call the women OBJECTS, and that’s too close to the truth for comfort.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s completely beautiful, and fascinating to watch as the styles shift– especially when we get into Impressionism and beyond– and I have no idea how they did it, but the faces melt seamlessly into each other in an effect that’s worth seeing.
But even if the faces change, all the paintings are the same…pretty white women, smiling sweet, passive smiles for a male audience, glancing sideways but never quite making eye contact, always posing. And nothing about their expressions changes, even in the modern art (no Frida Kahlo!). Always an object for the male gaze, never the subject.
It makes me want to call in the Guerrila Girls. Or maybe do my own montage, where the women are truly the active subjects.