Perversion as the implicit dynamic of all modern art? The underlying factor of fueling the entire art/entertainment complex as an effort of a manageable and incremental representation of the perverse. Almost all modernism can be equated with the perverse both in attitude and form, albeit certain exceptions confirm the rule. For the most part, the route to fame and fortune seems equated with a skill in dealing with the perverse in increasingly imaginative ways. We can even speak of the structurally perverse that permeates society from Wall Street financial houses to art factories, to film houses to college football teams.
Even a cursory glance at the new television shows oriented towards women, their ostensible empowerment- represents disturbing recurring patterns, particularly in the dramatic shows. Here, violence is liberally used within the first minutes, with almost all the violence directed towards women.Comedies like Whitney, New Girl, 2Broke Girls etc. all have varying elements of the perverse most obviously in sexualized women, racism and a voyeurism which is degrading. All part of the trickle-down from what is considered modernist high-brow. It seemed to all begin with Edouard Manet…
Donald Kuspit:The emotionally unsettling point of Manet’s Olympia is that she’s available to turn whatever perverse trick her male customer is willing to pay for — all the “sensational” perverse tricks, as the big bouquet of different flowers he sent her suggests. She’s an instrument of pleasure — any kind of pleasure — and her famous stare is less confrontational than matter of fact (one only has to compare her blank face with Mona Lisa’s subtle smile to get the point), like her body, passively available for any and every kind sexual activity. That’s one aspect of her perversity. The other has to do with her profound indifference, an indication of her emotional banality, not to say emptiness. One can’t imagine what her inner life might be, or even if she has any. She’s turned off completely. She’s not even trying to attune to her customer. She’s there only to satisfy his sexual needs, whatever they may be.
He’s all too familiar and boring, and what she’s going to do for him is all too familiar and boring. She’s given up counting how many times she’s done it before. She’s the embodiment of ennui — a very vulgar incarnation of a very vulgar kind of ennui, in an explicitly vulgar picture. It is a picture that, in both its subject matter and style, is a prime example of what Frankl calls “regressive desublimation” — of the female body and, more generally, sexuality. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazine/FEATURES/kuspit/kuspit6-10-02.aspa
First, perversion is the result of an essential interplay between hostility and sexual desire…. Second, people with perversions feel (are made to feel) an unending sense of being dirty, sinful, secretive, abnormal and a threat to those finer, unperverse citizens who are supposed to make up the majority of society. Third, the word itself reflects the need of individuals in society to keep from recognizing their own perverse tendencies by providing scapegoats who liberate the rest of us in that they serve as the objects of our own unacceptable and projected perverse tendencies.
Robert Stoller, Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred, 1975
Germaine Greer:Olympia is a wonderful picture, but its subject is not sensuality, still less passion. It is an enduring emblem of apathy, of disjointure. Most of the female figures on the post-impressionist canvas were part-time prostitutes; their bodies often show the insignia of privation, the pallid skin, the wasted limbs, as they crouch to wash or sweat over a hot iron, or line up for medical inspection, or simply lie in the dishevelled bed and wait. It is the truest irony that a 21st-century connoisseur sees Manet’s Olympia as simply erotic, when what so annoyed the flaneurs of Paris was that it assailed their manly certainty that the women they exploited truly desired them. In the same way we misunderstand the child ballerinas of Degas. In every alley of the theatre loom the silhouettes of the portly gentlemen in top hats who have come to take their pleasure with these skinny half-naked adolescents. They too will have learned to mime desire. Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/feb/06/manet-olympia-prostitution-courtesan