Society and fine art are forever entwined, but despite their ever-evolving natures and more female artists than ever, there has yet to be a #HeToo. What’s sauce for the goose still isn’t sauce for the gander. Artists, by and large, do not seek out male nudes, and, give or take the occasional Mapplethorpe, it seems neither does anyone else.
Exhibitions don’t feature them, and nobody buys them, leaving the female figure as art’s gold standard.
It wasn’t always so. Ancient Greeks and Romans sculpted male figures with alacrity and godlike grace. Even the church allowed Adam and David au naturel as did the Renaissance, but after that, nada.
Men looked at women, men were the artists, and that was the way it was. Rodin did The Thinker or two in the classic manner but just as often sculpted his mistress, fellow sculptor Camille Claudel, whom he later drove crazy. Claudel also left proof for the record that she had more art trouble than just Rodin, saying “I have had the problem of seeing my male model go to Italy … and stay there.”
True, a good man is hard to find, and whether the female form is more streamlined and requires less extensive knowledge of anatomy is debatable.
However, the great 19th-century French draftsman and portrait painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres defended the human figure impartially: “Pay homage to all that is beautiful. Observe how humanity is made in the image of God; how difficult it is to capture the features of human form, for God wanted that Eve be different from Adam. But observe, also, that the task is easy, for we find no other being so loved, so remembered, so known.”
That said, perhaps the reason artists continue to detour the disrobed male is simple.
If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen 'em all.
Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at Fete@theadvocate.com.
A good man may not be so hard to find after all. “Materialize,” Dirk Guidry’s new exhibition at Basin Arts, did in fact materialize after interference from Hurricane Barry. “This is probably some of his best,” said Kelli Knickerbocker. “I like his mustard yellows. And, he’s a good man.” Guidry spoke for an hour prior to a reception on the nature and origin of his work, “a delicate dance of intuitive yet controlled,” and appreciating it all were artists Gary Ames and Brett Chigoy. By the way, that is not Guidry’s mural on the side of the Basin Arts building; we stand corrected.
Lauren Reilly Elliot Company’s “American Buffalo” opened in style at Cité des Arts with a preperformance cocktail reception. Sponsored in part by Stage Backers, Pouparts, Saint Street Inn and French Press, among others, David Mamet’s dramatic play starred three lowlife characters played by Duncan Thistlewaite, Cooper Helm and Matthew Huval, planning a heist plus strongly worded dialogue. “Maybe pushing the boundaries for Lafayette,” said director Scott Gremillion. About to get their ears burned were Sue Golden, Emily Kean and Fête fans Sally Herpin and Cecile Burch, ready to cane any unsavory characters.
Guests enjoyed wine and fine cheese in honor of the exhibition “Paths and Loops: Automatic Drawings by John F. Simon, Jr.” Sommelier-in-training Kelli Bayer of Marcello’s poured the Arte Latino and Folkway Revelator, and Whole Foods’ Colby Lute knew his manchego from his cave-aged Gruyere. “The wine selection was inspired by the fact that Simon draws from different sources, so she (Bayer) did too,” said UAM’s Susie Gottardi. Better yet, “All of us are victims of the thoughts in our heads,” added curator Ben Hickey. After the tasting, Hickey conducted a private tour of the exhibition to view Simon’s work, and heady with it all were Dr. Gene and Sylvia Louviere, also Rene Barilleaux and Tim Hedgepeth in from San Antonio.
Martini Madness, con’t
Ruffino’s threw its hat in the Healing House competition ring with The Geisha. “It’s made with Absolut Mandarin, plum extract, lemon grass and ginger simple syrup, with blood orange foam,” said manager Greg Harmon. “We’re about to go from 0 to 100 mph; we’ve got 250 guests on the books tonight.” Among those drinking for charity were Sarah Broussard and Kathy Ortego, while elsewhere in the restaurant Northwestern University held its caravan alumni event. What we loved: Besides Greg and The Geisha, Northwestern’s life-size cardboard coach cutout being unloaded in the parking lot.
Krewe of Xanadu
Ball Captain Lori Landry hosted her ladies for a Sip Sip Hooray Happy Hour Party to reveal royalty characters for 2020. Xanadu is celebrating 30 years come Carnival season, and Royalty Chair Donna Oliver presented each Muse with their official proclamation and Zeus names for “Raise Your Glass, Cheers to Thirty Years.” Queen Xanadu XXX Cindy Cobb and guests were also surprised by the appearance of King Xanadu XXX, whose name we dare not speak.