“Fear and Loathing in New York-An impolite anecdote about the interface of homophobia and misogyny” written by Jennifer Doyle Rebecca Hicks
I have chosen an essay on pages 15- 17 in “The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader” by the name of, “Fear and Loathing in New York-An impolite anecdote about the interface of homophobia and misogyny written by JenniferDoyle. I will be summarizing the article as well as the kinds of story that art and history has told about sex and desire. I also will be talking about the difference between pornography and art, and the difference between art and advertisement. I also will be giving a brief background history on Jennifer Doyle, so that we may understand why she chose to write this article. Most of all I will be talking about where do our attitudes about sex figure into the art world? In Doyle’s writing of, “Fear and Loathing in New York”, she talks about how she loves talking and challenging the subject of sex, how they are important in many different areas, such as television, advertisement, homes, sidewalks, and in conversation. (P.15 Cultural Reader) She brings up a conversation that she has with some male colleagues while they are at a club. The men are young and straight and they made a statement that really intrigued her mind. This statement was, “White Male Artists can’t get anywhere in the art world because they “don’t suck dick.” She then interjects that, “I suck dick and it isn’t getting me anywhere”, she says that the conversation paused for a beat, and then rolled along as if she had said nothing, as if she had belched and the only polite response was to act as if no one has noticed. (p. 16 Cultural reader) Doyle says that whetheryou are male or female sexual preference has no relevance in whether you are successful or not. She states, “I wanted to say that they were using a bigoted idea about homosexuality to mask the dynamics of exclusion that define art institutions….., I wanted them to understand, that the irrelevance of women to the economy they were describing is not an effect of the presence of gay men in the art world,….it is straight-up sexism. (p. 17 cultural reader) Doyle uses many examples as to what is art and how art has affected us in one way or another. Art history has told us stories about sex and desire. Among the oldest surviving examples of erotic depictions are Paleolithic cave paintings and carvings, but many cultures have created erotic art. When looking into the history of art and sex the earliest known illustration of a man using a condom during sexual intercourse is painted on the wall of a cave in France. It is dated between 12,000 and 15,000 years old. The ancient Greeks painted sexual scenes on their ceramics, many of them famous for being some of the earliest depictions of same-sex relations and pederasty, and there are numerous sexually explicit paintings on the walls of ruined Roman buildings in Pompeii. In Europe, starting with the Renaissance, there was a tradition of producing erotica for the amusement of the aristocracy. During the last few centuries, society has broadened its view of what can be considered as art and several new styles developed during the 1800s such as Impressionism and Realism. This has given today's artists a broader, almost infinite, spectrum with which to work. (news.bbc.co.uk, by Emily Buchanan) Is there a difference between art and pornography? I believe there is a difference in the two art forms. The difference between pornography and art is easy to define. Art is that which ennobles and inspires with its use of form, composition and color, to produce aesthetic value. Pornography, on the other hand, according to the dictionary definition, is the depiction of erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement. Although it is true that art is in the eye of the beholder. One person may see a work of art as erotic in nature while another may see the beauty of the scene. The eye sees only what the mind gives it power to see. If an unclean mind is bent on the perception of filth, it will be oblivious to beauty and perceive only filth, upon which it feeds. A sound mind will perceive things as they are, appreciating beauty where it exists and being offended by the unclean. When doing some more research, according to a blog from www.wireheadarts.com/blog/art_and_porn) this statement was made, “Thereis a fine line one treads when people wearing anything less than the sort of clothing one might wear to a formal dinner are involved in art: Where does something cease to be art and start becoming un-artistic pornography?” The author goes on to say that it all depends on the angle, selection of wardrobe and how you look at a picture, that the art is subjective. The difference between art and advertising also has two distinct definitions as well. Advertising is about two things: making consumers aware of a product, and convincing them to purchase and use said product. It is about what can be gotten from the consumer, using their wants and needs to make a product desirable. Art however is about what can be done for the user. Art is about conveying personal message. Its intent is not to convince or serve its customers, but can be about confronting them, or comforting them. How can I make this person’s life easier, more efficient, better? Advertising promises this, art has to deliver on it. The reason for art is different than the reason for doing advertising. Bud Light uses advertising to sell it products, by using homosexual love and gay sex, which is commonly used in billboards, but Americans are not aware of the myth the ad refers to, “Zeus falling in love with the boy”.(http://ww.gay-art-history.org/gay-history/gay-art/gay-sex-advertising/budweiser) In conclusion, I agree with Doyle, art is straight up sexism, it is not about whether you have a dick or not, it is about how art is presented. In speaking with a personal friend of mine that is a publisher as well as a photographer whom considers herself to be an artist, she gave me this statement,” Because of the historic oppression of women, men have definitely had a head start and an advantage when it comes to succeeding better in the art world. I do think things are beginning to turn around though. I know as a woman photographer we are beginning to be seen more as well as publishers.” She voiced to me that art is all how you view it, how you present it, and how you sell it. I believe that if women continue to push through and strive to be successful as artists, they will eventually be where men are or even more recognized than men. "Art History: Art Lab 23: Pete Maurol." Artlab23 Loading Current Issue. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2010. http://www.artlab23.net/issue1vol1/PeteMauro.html. Doyle, Jennifer. Sex Ojects: Art and the Dialectics of Desire. California: Regents of the University of California, 2010. Print. Jones, Amelia. The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader (Sight: Visual Culture). New York: Routledge, 2002. Print. Kruger, Barbara. "The Art History Archive-Feminist ARt." Feminist Artist n.d.: n. pag. Web. Sorin's Oil Painting Gallery. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2010. http://www.sgallery.net/.