The Undiscussed Sexual Exploitation Buried in Matisse’s Odalisque Paintings
By Lorissa Rinehart in Hyperallergic
So ingrained is exploitation in our understanding of female sexuality within (and outside of) art history that incredibly basic readings recede into the background and are deemed somehow radical.
Lips half open with limbs positioned to entice, the female figures of Henri Matisse’s odalisque paintings exude an undiminished sensuality. Now on view now at the Norton Simon Museum in Matisse/Odalisque, some of the artist’s finest odalisque portraits are joined by several other modernist works exploring the same subject. Spanning two centuries, Matisse/Odalisque contextualizes Matisse’s unique treatment of this Orientalist theme.
Or at least that’s what the wall text says. What it doesn’t say is that this small, yet representative, exhibition is also a retrospective of female sexual slavery and subjugation in modern art. Yet, as in the works themselves, the social realities and underlying sexism of the exhibition’s subject are buried beneath the surrounding rhetoric. Though not, as it turns out, very deeply. Click here to continue reading
Tags: asheville womens magazine, matisse odalisque, wnc womens magazine, women in art
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