Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston
A ripoff sculpture of Britney Spears giving someone a blowjob would be wildly popular, but would it be art, or would it be commercial porn, derivative porn, or exploitative porn?
A rhetorical question, to be sure, but I find it fun to answer them. My answer is "depends on the artist, yes, maybe, yes."
There is no claim that Spears posed for, approves of or even knew about the artwork before it's unveiling.
BROOKLYN (March 22, 2006) --- A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a ‘first’ for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the “ideal” model for Pro-Life and the subject of a dedication at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg gallery district, in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth, in April.
Dedication of the life-sized statue celebrates the recent birth of Spears’ baby boy, Sean, and applauds her decision of placing family before career. “A superstar at Britney’s young age having a child is rare in today’s celebrity culture. This dedication honors Britney for the rarity of her choice and bravery of her decision,” said gallery co-director, Lincoln Capla. The dedication includes materials provided by Manhattan Right To Life Committee.
Capla Kesting denies the statue was developed from a rumored bootleg Britney Spears birth video. The artist admits to using references that include the wax figure of a pole-dancing Britney at Las Vegas’ Madame Tussauds and ‘Britney wigs’ characterizing various hairstyles of the pop-princess from a Los Angeles hairstylist. And according to gallery co-director, David Kesting, the artist studied a bearskin rug from Canada “to convey the commemoration of the traditional bearskin rug baby picture.”
I am not here to confirm or deny the artistic merit of the sculpture or the statement itself, because I think that's pretentious as all hell. Nor am I in any position to judge the merits of it's statement, or question it's appropriateness as public, or at least semi-public pornography.
But as a sometime pornographer, I know what "talking about sex" looks like, I know what fetishizing an image looks like, and if there is a difference between "fetishizing" and "idealizing" an image, it's a damn fine distinction. A distinction that is generally helped by the presence of clothing and the absence of bearskins - which I associate more strongly with Marilyn Monroe pin-up nudes and cheesy black-and-white vintage porn.
And her gaping pussy! Hello!
“Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston,” believed Pro-Life’s first monument to the ‘act of giving birth,’ is purportedly an idealized depiction of Britney in delivery. Natural aspects of Spears’ pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head.
We call this GraphicTruth for a reason!
Prissy weasel-worded phrases like those above allow people to delude themselves that this is somehow different and better than run of the mill pregnancy porn, but carving it in marble or some more conformable artificial substitute, in honor of the subject herself, changes nothing.
This is a graphically Anglo-Saxon moment, unsuited for the mealy-mouthed words of the descendants of aristocratic Normans, who said "feces" instead of "shit" because the former seemed to smell more elegant than the latter.
When you step in it in the dark, it is what it is!
And there it is! Gaping. Inescapable!
A Monster Shot of the Second Kind!
One can nearly hear the gasps, smell the sweat, feel the pain and get a contact high off the endorphins!
Ok, maybe I am a little jealous; of both the work itself and the marketing skills. Let me point out the obvious again - as that is what I do here.
That is how I would market the exact same image to conscious porn consumers with a taste for voyeurism and pain.
Unconscious porn consumers, who seem to be great fans of Britney get to see a "monument to Pro-Life."
The monument also acknowledges the pop-diva’s pin-up past by showing Spears seductively posed on all fours atop a bearskin rug with back arched, pelvis thrust upward, as she clutches the bear’s ears with ‘water-retentive’ hands.
“Britney provides inspiration for those struggling with the ‘right choice’,” said artist Daniel Edwards, recipient of a 2005 Bartlebooth award from London’s The Art Newspaper. “She was number one with Google last year, with good reason --- people are inspired by the beauty of a pregnant woman,” said Edwards.
Yep. "Inspired." A word often used to describe my own work. Heh.
I'm inspired by looking at this profile image to think what a very sexual posture it is, and how conveniently positioned the bear's head is for Daddy to sit on.
"Hit me baby, one more time" and "Oops, I did it again!" are taking on entirely old meanings in my head.
But then, truly great art does invite the viewer in. Indeed, just as truly great porn does.
Citing hits on Google convinces that one intent of this sculpture is the sheer amount of buzz, money and traffic this could bring to the "right to life" cause. The degree of implied insight into the collective psyche of "right to life" supporters is both impressive and cynical to a degree that takes my breath away.
Oh dear. It appears I AM judging! Circularity and irony. For if the above is seen as a criticism of the work, or indeed of Britney herself, then everything I have written about the people I find inspiring, or the pornographies I have committed and intend to commit again in the name of cultural subversion and residual income are just as base and cynical. Nor are mine, I observe, in any museum.
I find being unintentionally ironic to be hilarious - in other people. Therefore I prefer to avoid such evidence of serious self-delusion.
I like it. Heck, I even like the message. I actually like both messages, for in effect it's blurring the lines between the sacredness of the moment and the gritty, graphic, raw sexuality of it.
If this encourages young women to see pregnancy as another way of being sexy, and to see pendulous breasts and big tummies as being beautiful in their own way, it's a good image.
If it gets little girls to think of this picture here leading to that picture up there as being one logical and beautiful result, they may do better, understanding what the end result - so to speak - of being a seductive "pop tart" may well be.
So long as they realize that both idealizations are in fact choices that have preventable risks, if you think about and understand what you are doing instead of blindly trying to live up to some unattainable, plasticized ideal.
And if a stern Republican Dominioniost dominant Daddy gets a hard-on looking at it while his 12 year old daughter is being inspired by this work, I promise I won't think any differently of him than I already do.