Vanity Fair Imitates Manet?
In defending the Vanity Fair cover, Todd Myers said that it was “art.”
But then he added that it was “just like Manet.”
Alright, so here it is: Edouard Manet’s Le dejeuner sur l’herbe, the painting I assume he was referencing.
So we’ve got the clothed men and the nude female . . . but I hardly think VF pulls off Manet.
And even if they had, does that rationalize the nudity? This painting was scandalous in its time, and perhaps rightly so. I don’t really see the justification for the nudity of the woman in the company of the fully-clothed (with ties even!) men.
But regardless, to bring it back full-circle to VF — and the question of art vs. pornography — the woman may be nude, but the man is not biting her ear . . .
I’d like to hear from you on this: what do you think?
the full-backal nudity does nothing for me. the nudity for nudity’s sake bugs me. just…bugs me. it’s like you can’t make a movie today without seeing somebody in some state of nakes. I saw Alexander, and there were COMICAL ways they got the actors naked. not that they were intended to be comical, it’s just that it was SO pretentious.
and if recent movies are any indicator, look for Jake Gylenwhazzits to try and drop trou in Batman Mountain.
With Manet and Vanity Fair, the motives were/are approximately the same: to stir controversy, and to push back the boundaries of what is acceptable.
Artists are famous for their Bohemian ways, their rejection of social norms and mores, so it doesn’t surprise me that Vanity Fair would print such a cover, or that the actors involved would agree to participate.
When Manet tried to display his painting, he met with much resistance because of the shock value of the work. Even once it was displayed, it was not seen by very many people. Its effect on French culture was probably small.
Vanity Fair is mainstream and influential. It will be viewed as cool, as avant garde, and will probably attract imitators. And among the young, especially, it will shape attitudes towards sexuality and public nudity. I’m disappointed in all who were part of this project, but not at all surprised.