Robin Laurence took as a personal affront the Vancouver Art Gallery’s newest exhibition [“Modern Woman exposes a disquieting inequity”, June 10-17]. Her commentary on the personal shortcomings of the artists overshadowed anything positive she had to say about their art.
After she invoked misogyny and treachery in her descriptions, I wondered if anyone could feel good about visiting the exhibit. Women would feel guilty for supporting it, and men would feel guilty by association.
Despite Laurence’s article, I went to see for myself. I marvelled in front of Angrand’s Ma Mí¨re. Did I see misogyny there? No.
I melted in front of Courbet’s Portrait of the Artist’s Young Sister Juliet, Asleep. Did I see treachery there? No.
Did I care that Degas was a misogynist or that Renoir was a pervert or that Toulouse-Lautrec hung out with prostitutes? No, because finding out about the skeletons in an artist’s closet is not why I go to the gallery—I go to be moved by what they create.
Laurence seems to set a standard that you must approve of an artist’s dirty secrets before you can appreciate their art; call me naive, but I probably wouldn’t know anyone if I set standards like that.
I admire Laurence as an authority on art and history, but she lives in 2010. Her commentary on the portrayal of women is misplaced by over a century.
> Lucas Nightingale / Vancouver