At Jack Shainman, Michael Snow Has a One-Sided View of Women

THE DAILY PIC: The artist invites us to switch his work's verso and recto.


MY DAILY PIC: This is a view of VUEƎUV, a work by Michael Snow that’s now on display in his solo show at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. The piece is nothing more than a photo of a naked woman’s back that has been printed onto translucent fabric, so the strength of its effect seems absurd: As you walk around to look at the far side of the piece, your stupid eyes are sure they’re going to see an image of the model’s front, while in fact–duhhhh–all you see is the same image of her rear, inviting you once again to step around to see her other side. I kind of wish that Snow had used a clothed man for his shot: The perceptual result would have been just as strong, and he would have avoided all the vexed issues of gender and sexuality and sexism that the piece now invokes, and doesn’t profit from. On the other hand, it’s true that all of us–even most straight women and gay men, I’m pretty sure–are more curious to see a naked woman’s “recto” than the flip side of almost anything else. And Snow’s piece depends on such a compulsion. (©Michael Snow, courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

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