Friday, May 19, 2006

Monument to Life

The most famous contemporary sculpture in the English speaking world (at least for today ) is Daniel Edwards' "Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston" -- which has buzzed around the internet and the newspapers because it's a nude portrait of Britney Spears -- the (formerly) teenage pop-star -- with a very public life -- giving birth to her first son.

The art gallery's website shows the above -- well chosen to be rather formal, rather sedate professional photographs of figure sculpture - taken from it's best views in its best light.

The above is an amateur's shot from a less flattering angle.

And this is the POV that, rather obviously, generates the most interest around the internet. (note: this was probably taken in the studio -- while the broken pieces of the cast were being assembled)

So what are we to make of this famous work ?

I think it's skillfully done -- i.e. assuming that the artist was also the sculptor (unlike Jeff Koons) -- Daniel Edwards has skills at the level of those who design the life-size figures that are found in casinos or McDonalds parking lots.

But the good views are boring - while the bad views are terrible --- i.e., when placed in a room , it makes that room ugly -- so it does not serve to honor/elevate/sanctify its subject matter -- but only to sensationalize it. (am I just stating the obvious ?)

I would like to see a real "Monument to Life" -- using a similar pose -- that would decorate/sanctify the waiting rooms of birthing centers -- but our top-trashed culture has prepared neither sculptors to make it nor buyers to recognize it.

I've seen good sculpture that depicts childbirth -- but don't have a picture to show. Here is a sculpture, however, using a similar pose:

The sculptor is Arturo Martini -- the piece is also lifesize -- and was done in 1930.


Blogger Genius said...

I find it hard to imagine a depiction of britney spears raising the tone of any room.
partly because I know why most people who care about it care about it.

May 19, 2006  
Anonymous Rudolph Carrera said...

I was wondering why the backside wasn't posted before. Now I know.

I don't know whether to thank you or scald my eyes now...

But a very nice blog you have!

May 20, 2006  
Blogger Gawain said...

I wonder about that wolf (?) skin on which the model poses/gives birth. I can't for the life of me figure out what it is about -- obviously it's there for a reason, someone has thought about it -- the animal skin (is this politically correct?), the animal being a wolf (why? why not bear, or antilope, or boar, or hoppo?), the wolf growling (why? is she giving birth to a half-beast? is it an act of aggression?).

and you are right, sanctify it does not.

of course, nothing seems to do these days. why?

May 20, 2006  
Blogger chris miller said...

Thankyou for your comment, Rudolph -- I hope you weren't offended. I think the rear presents the best view of that particular piece -- but, like the group-sex scenes in some Hindu sculpture -- it needs to be placed in a proper context not to be offensive.

May 20, 2006  
Blogger chris miller said...

Good question, Gawain -- I think it's a bear skin -- and in the context is pop culture -- I think a bear skin is more related to conception than birth. But as I recall -- birthing stools are pieces of furniture in various cultures -- and sometimes they are ornamented with various animals.

May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Kat said...

I think what kills me about this sculpture is how perfect her body is, except for the bulging belly. No swollen ankles, no varicose veins (although I guess you can't show that in sculpture), no grimace of pain - like childbirth is some pleasurable occupation. In my opinion, she looks a little sexualized to be having a baby. On a bearskin rug? Come on, why didn't he just sculpt a big, roaring fire behind her as well?

May 22, 2006  
Blogger Rudolph A. Carrera said...

I'm not offended at all, actually! Her posterior is done well, and the sculpture is a piece of art, tacky as it may be.

June 13, 2006  

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