Treachery and misogyny not on display at VAG

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



glen p robbins

Jun 24, 2010 at 2:34pm

The confusion, chaos, contradiction that is life -- from which any person --inclined to do so -- hopes to speak about -- paint about -- sculpt about--requires a person to dive and drive into that internal place -- and that which is created includes many many things good and bad.

People are good and bad -- including most 'normative' people---which might include the idea that misogyny is not the exclusive domain of the male anymore.

In my opinion art is personal -- from the point of the artist and the person looking at the art---otherwise we might call it something else -- like government.

Lets re-aim the cannon

Jun 25, 2010 at 6:31pm

There are and always have been worthwhile artists outside of the mainstream "evolution/progression"