‘Star of Venus’ queries Lucy Gollogly’s review of Richard Kern’s artwork, and below, Lucy responds.
Lucy Gollogly responds
First of all, I welcome any debate that my review might incite. Those aren’t empty words – I feel that women are often discouraged from discussing the issues raised by Kern’s work i.e. our sexuality as viewed through the eyes of the male. So it can only be healthy for us to confront these issues directly and honestly.
After having a good look at www.richardkern.com I feel even more strongly than before that Kern’s photopgraphy is ultimately rather dull, bland and colourless coffee table porn for people who would be too embarrassed to buy Hustler. It presents us with nothing new, so why is it of artistic merit? The suggestion that, because the material is displayed in an art gallery it is automatically post-modern, and apparently beyond critisism, is weak, and an abuse of the term.
Far from arriving at the gallery eager to have my sensibilities offended, I went in with an open mind, hoping that Kern would have something new to say about the way women and sexuality are represented, but I was disappointed. I was met with walls of relentless female passivity and nudity. If you doubt me check out Kern’s piece “Ass in Car” on his website – Kern has chosen to represent a woman wearing red stilettos bending forward into a car, her tights ripped to expose her shaven genitals. I would surmise that it’s not this woman’s character ( or even her face) that Kern is interested in representing.