Friday, June 23, 2006

The Vagina Monoblogs

The Artswipe
What is it you kunst face? 2006
Mobile phone photo

I was watching Oprah recently interviewing "age-defying women." It has to be my second favourite Oprah episode (after the one where, as shown above, she works at McDonalds for a day to prove she can be a proletariat if she damn well feels like it). In this episode about "age-defying women" Oprah waxes lyrical with a 50something woman who has kept a youthful visage because she applies vaginal cream on her face daily. This was totally inspired. Basically this vaginal face cream woman is a performance artist and she doesn’t even know it. She may as well be at the forefront of feminist art practice.

By "feminist" I don’t mean bland post-feminist crap (a myth probably invented by Carrie Bradshaw). I am talking about the real stuff: second wave feminism. Where women burnt their bras, worshipped their vaginas, ran with wolves, sculpted with tampons, made the nappy happy and politicised the domestic. They also got real angry at marches and rallies. They loved other women, not always because they were lesbians, but because men are pigs. These second wave womyn would never be seen watching The L Word – or at least they would not admit it. They’d be queuing around the block for tickets to a Barbara Hammer retrospective.

The best thing about the second wave was it allowed you to say “cunt” in a critical context. Specifically because many feminist artists of this era made, what they affectionately called, “cunt art.” Flowers became vaginal signifiers and whirling spiral forms (barbed with the occasional dentata) hypnotised viewers into accepting menopause as a pause from men. To list such pioneers would mean citing the likes of Judy Chicago, Lynda Benglis, Hannah Wilkes, Carolee Schneeman, Vivienne Binns, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, The Guerrilla Girls, Mary Kelly, among many others. Their more contemporary counterparts are artists like Tracey Emin (before she stopped drinking), Le Tigre (before they covered The Pointer Sisters’ “I'm so Excited”) and Australian dragking foursome The Kingpins (before they terrorised Starbucks
). Why am I going on about this anyway?

Blame Oprah – she makes me think of kunst.


mayhem said...

who are you?

your blog rocks!

love yer stuff!

keep on trucking!

Artswipe said...

hey there. thanks for your kind comment. i checked out your blogs -really liked the 'bodies, art & stuff' one. i too read bataille as self-help. 'story of the eye' especially helps when I have conjuntivitis. - the artswipe