Cover Image: Arthur Werger Venus 1998 Aquatint 35 1/2 x 23 1/2â€?
Summer Breaks: Labor, Leisure, Lust May 19 - August 5, 2016 Schneider Hall Galleries Hite Art Institute University of Louisville
Summer Breaks: Labor, Leisure, Lust Summer Breaks; Labor, Leisure, Lust is the result of a collaborative
a copy, since the original painting (Manet’s Olympia ) was itself
exploration of the Hite Art Institute’s substantial print collection.
based on an older work (Titian’s Venus of Urbino ). Kissel wonders
Co-curated by three Critical and Curatorial Studies Masters students
if Ramos’ nude enacts the same kind of radical break as Manet’s, or if his
(Ash Braunecker, Hunter Kissel, and Madison Sevilla),¹ it is the product
postmodern gesture amounts to a hollow pastiche of historical forms.
of a semester-long intensive curatorial seminar—a course that developed in step with the theoretical, historical, and aesthetic interests and
Ash Braunecker’s contribution reads Lozowick’s prints (Loading  and Novel of Adventure) through Thorstein Veblen’s seminal
discoveries of the students enrolled. This year the exhibition is organized
turn of the century text, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899). In her
around three key terms—labor, leisure, and lust—which it uses to pressure
analysis, depictions of leisure and depictions of labor act as two sides of
and re-orient 20th Century American depictures of recreation and
the same coin. Although Lozowick’s Marxist leanings suggest sympathy
for the alienated workers in his images, the print’s status as an object
Summer Breaks investigates the critical power of the break—breaks
for conspicuous consumption means that these works ultimately serve
from the workday as well as breaks from conventional modes of
to enforce or affirm class stratification. Finally, Madison Sevilla’s essay
representation. In this sense at least, the show conflates two types of
takes up Laura 'de Bolanos' Volkerding’s Hand Painted Tie (1964), Carl
rupture. However, rupture in this exhibition is never absolute, and often
E. Schwartz’s Heirloom 2 (N.D.), and Arthur Werger’s Venus (1998) to
“breaks” from the status quo (from labor, from traditional depictions of
explore the decorative role of women’s bodies in 20th Century American
the female body) only end up affirming an existing power structure. The
print work. Sevilla argues that the female body itself becomes an object
point of departure for this investigation is the print medium itself. While
of leisurely visual consumption, but that in order for such objectification
on the one hand the print’s inherent mechanical reproducibility allows it
to take place it must first be dissociated from its personhood. Citing
to reach a broader (or at the very least larger) audience than painting or
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (1972), Sevilla articulates the historical
sculpture, such reproducibility also mimics our consumer-oriented mass
use of women’s bodies as display apparatuses and sites of decoration
media apparatus—and indeed, the editioned nature of the print confirms
before describing how these prints not only depersonalize their subjects
the consumer-object status of the artwork. Because the work of art is the
through such display, but ultimately dismember them.
consumer good par excellence of the leisure class, the critical power of
In my roles as both gallery director and head of the Critical and
such work—even when produced by Marxist artists like Louis Lozowick—
Curatorial studies program, it has been an immense pleasure to work with
comes under pressure when it is framed and put on display.
these young curators to realize this tremendous exhibition. Mounting a
“Display” too is a central concern in this show. Like the print, the female body here is often employed to articulate various ruptures (from history, in the case of Mel Ramos’ Manet’s Olympia , or from the
thoughtful, cohesive, and critically-engaged show in one short semester is a monumental task, one that my students handled with aplomb. Special thanks are due to Brynn Gordon, an undergraduate student
daily grind, in the case of Lozowick’s Novel of Adventure ). Yet in
who was not enrolled in my course but who participated in the creative
most cases these articulations also affirm the masculine, heterosexual
formation of this exhibition. Additional thanks are due to John Begley,
gaze of the work’s implied audience. In this respect, the titular themes
former head of the CCS program, whose insight into the print collection
that organize the work in this show (labor, leisure, and lust) are not rigid
was invaluable; Rachel Singel, whose introduction to print techniques
categories, but rather overlapping motifs that often serve one class of
helped guide our thinking; and Molly Bumpous, who designed the
viewer at the expensive of another. One man’s leisure or lust, in other
words, is another woman’s labor. For this catalogue, the curators have looked closely at a handful of
prints that act as signposts for the exhibition as a whole. Hunter Kissel’s
essay bears down on Ramos’ Manet’s Olympia, a work that served as a
Assistant Professor, Critical and Curatorial Studies
kind of talisman during the planning stages of the show. Kissel addresses the almost simulacral quality of Ramos’ gesture: his print is a copy of
¹ Brynn Gordon, although not enrolled in the course, also participated in the curation of the exhibition.
Points of Reference: A Brief Analysis of the Lineage of Manetâ€™s Olympia Hunter Kissel University of Louisville
Points of Reference: A Brief Analysis of the Lineage of Manet’s Olympia Throughout the history of painting, the nude has stood out as a genre continually under revision. The nude’s long history is punctuated by scandalous ruptures—not least of which was Édouard Manet’s Olympia (1863). Olympia’s public reveal at the Paris Salon in 1865 gained considerably negative reviews because it broke from conventional codes of depicting naked women.¹ But with time, Olympia has become a significant modern work of art—it is arguably the first modern painting— and it has served as a reference point for artworks since, including Mel Ramos’ Manet’s Olympia (1974). This collotype print mimics the composition of Olympia and, like Olympia, incorporates aspects of visual culture from the era in which it was made—namely advertising work and 1970s pornography. These are themes that frequently appear in Ramos’ body of work, and by including them in his nod to Manet he blurs the distinction between high art and popular culture. Indeed, Manet’s Olympia treats both the history of painting and mass culture as source material for casual reference. In Olympia, a female figure lays naked atop a bed of two mattresses, her legs are stretched over a shawl and her posture is kept taut by the support of two large pillows. Her body is decorated with adornments such as a black tie around her neck, a flower behind her left ear, and slippers near her feet. Her immovable stare peers in the direction of the viewer and is mirrored by the stare of an alert black cat that stands at the end of the bed. A female servant presents the figure with flowers— presumably a gift from a satisfied customer according to the reading that Olympia depicts a Parisian prostitute. The scene is framed by the architecture of the room: emerald drapes are kept from serving as a complete backdrop by a Japanese screen placed behind the upper body of the figure. Notably, the prostitute’s left hand is flexed over her crotch. Olympia’s predecessor was Titian’s Venus of Urbino (1538), a Renaissance painting Manet had copied as a student.² In Titian’s example, a 16th century courtesan lounges on a pair of mattresses, a maid occupies the upper right corner of the image, and an animal—this time a dog—is positioned at the end of the bed. The courtesan’s hand is also placed above her crotch, albeit rested instead of flexed. Yet of the
Édouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm. © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.
were more concerned with Olympia’s singularities. According to art historian T.J. Clark, there are three primary reasons that critics were taken aback by Manet’s handling of the nude genre, all of which amounted to breaks from traditional visual codes regarding sexuality. Clark maintains that Manet breaks from the standard presentation of the nude: in a classical nude painting such as Venus of Urbino, the viewer is given access to the figure by way of her height and scale within in the frame.⁴ Manet, however, painted his model just enough above the painting’s midline (thanks to the height of the mattresses) that her stare misses a connection with the viewer’s gaze without looking degradingly downward at him.⁵ Her indifference towards the viewer is further marked by her “jet-black pupils, the slight asymmetry of the lids, the smudged and broken corner of the mouth, the features half-adhering to the plain oval of the face.”⁶ This was enough to provoke hostility from some Salon-goers. Clark also holds that there were some critics in 1865 who were displeased with Manet’s refusal to abide by the tradition in which the nude is rendered in smooth, unbroken brushwork.⁷ Manet’s painting style, characterized by what Clark refers to as “smooth hard edges” of the figure’s body juxtaposed by hard outlines of her contour, leaves a sense
sixty reviews of the Salon published in 1865 that discussed Olympia, only two included mention of Manet’s reference to Titian.³ The fact that the majority of these critics failed to notice the similarities suggests that they
3. Clark notes the similarities of verbiage between the two reviews, concluding that it was likely that the same critic published two separate reviews using two different pseudonyms. Therefore, it may have been that only one critic referenced Venus of Urbino. Clark,“Preliminaries,” 263.
1. T.J. Clark, “Preliminaries to a Possible Treatment of Olympia in 1865,” in Modern Art
4. Clark, “Preliminaries,” 268.
and Modernism: A Critical Anthology, ed. Francis Frascina and Charles Harrison with
5. Clark, “Preliminaries,” 269.
the assistance of Deidre Paul (Toronto: Westview Press, 1982), 259.
6. Clark, “Preliminaries,” 268.
2. Clark, “Preliminaries,” 263.
7. Clark, “Preliminaries,” 269.
of rigid uncertainly for Olympia—the two modes of depiction are unable
time has passed to allow the ramifications of Manet’s painting to develop
to create a unified sexuality for the figure.⁸
Lastly, the modifications Manet made to Titian’s painting regarding the
One artwork that demonstrates the gravity of Olympia’s legacy is
figure’s hair contradict traditional codes of sexuality. The figure in Venus
Ramos’ Manet’s Olympia. Here, Ramos simultaneously references Manet’s
of Urbino keeps with these traditional codes: her hair is abundantly let
painting as well as the disposition of Manet himself in 1865 by breaking
down—an inviting sign for the viewer—but her body is devoid of any
from the visual codes in Olympia just as Olympia broke the visual codes
pubic hair.⁹ If one looks closely enough at Manet’s figure, her hair is in
in Venus of Urbino. Manet’s Olympia offers many of the same
fact down, but the similarly hued Japanese screen, as well as the
components depicted in Manet’s painting: a nude woman lounges atop a
starkness of the flower, mutes its presence—her sexuality, although
pair of mattresses—she wears a bow around her neck and keeps slippers
visible, remains subdued.¹⁰ Additionally, the essence of her pubic hair is
by her feet, her stare extends outward toward the viewer, and her left
marked by a shadowed area in her armpit, a fading line running upward
hand is flexed over her crotch. Moreover, a servant woman extends a
from her navel, as well as her flexed hand above her crotch that “insists
bouquet of flowers towards the figure, an animal—Ramos uses a spider
so tangibly on what it hides.” ¹¹
monkey—is positioned at the end of the bed, and the scene is divided in
These are only three examples of how the visual codes of sexuality are
two via the wall’s molding. The composition, at least, is familiar.
handled in Olympia. There are other breaks as well: the servant acts as an
But Manet’s Olympia breaks from its predecessor as well. Perhaps
indication of the prostitute’s performed sexuality as it exists through
most noticeably, the main figure is no longer deadpan and indifferent in
business transactions. Moreover, the cat—a break from the dog, a
the print—she knowingly smiles at the viewer, her hair is clearly down and
classical symbol of fidelity—welcomes interpretations of promiscuity or
creates a halo for her seductive gaze, and her body is toned and marked
curiosity. The breaks that Clark identifies that I have detailed here are
with stark tan lines. In Ramos’ version, the servant’s eyes focus on the
ones noticed by critics in 1865 by way of the female figure, but enough
viewer instead of the figure, and the flowers she holds are turned slightly as if they are now a gift for the collective audience. In addition, the palette in Manet’s Olympia is more saturated and artificial than that of Manet’s, a trademark of Ramos’ Pop Art pedigree.¹² What, then, is the relationship between Manet’s composition and Ramos’ recreation? And do the breaks in Manet’s Olympia challenge painterly convention in a manner similar to the breaks Manet employed in 1865? I contend that they do not, and that the difference between the two images is akin to the difference between what social theorist Fredric Jameson describes as parody and pastiche. For Jameson, both terms involve a type of impersonation, but parody functions as mockery—it ridicules by taking a moral high ground.¹³ Manet’s painting was a parody of Venus of Urbino because it subverted the conventions of the nude genre, thereby provoking feelings of disgust from critics. Pastiche, on the other hand, is an imitation using visual codes without deeper meanings: pastiche is a “neutral practice of such mimicry” that makes reference simply because the reference is there.¹⁴ In short, parody critiques while
Mel Ramos, Manet’s Olympia, 1974, collotype print, 15 3/8 x 22 1/8”.
pastiche acknowledges. Manet’s Olympia is an example of pastiche, one that almost seems to
University of Louisville Art Collection.
8. Clark signals this uncertainty by features such as “the indefinite contour of
12. María Espinosa and Otto Letze, “Mel Ramos: Life and Work,” in Mel Ramos: 50
Olympia’s right breast, the faded bead of the nipple; the sliding, dislocated line of the
Years of Pop Art, ed. by Otto Letze (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010),
far forearm as it crosses (touches?) [sic] the belly; the elusive logic of the transition
from breast to ribcage to stomach to hip to thigh.” Clark, “Preliminaries,” 269-270.
13. Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society,” in The Anti-Aesthetic:
9. Clark, “Preliminaries,” 270.
Essays on Postmodern Culture ed. by Hal Foster (Port Townsend, WA: Bay Press,
14. Jameson, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society,” 114.
By functioning as pastiche of Olympia, Ramos’ Manet’s Olympia in turn serves as parody of high art and the tradition of the nude genre— a tradition in which various symbols circulate and reappear to maintain fixed meanings in support of the status quo. Ramos has admitted that his understanding of art history as a youth came from art magazines and that he found inspiration as a professional artist from the visual vocabulary of the “free enterprise system.” To him, Olympia had garnered a social rank comparable to the Coca-Cola emblem.²⁰ In other words, Manet’s painting was popular knowledge—by 1974 it had lost its avant-garde status and became, for Ramos, a means of addressing the history of painting.²¹ As the world became more acquainted with Olympia outside of its original Salon context, the painting’s cultural value changed. By the time Mel Ramos created his print in 1974, Olympia had lost what social theorist Walter Benjamin calls authenticity—or the “essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning.”²² Such authenticity would necessarily include Olympia’s ability to provoke reactions like those of its Titian, Venus of Urbino, oil on canvas, 1538, 119.2 x 165.5 cm. www.Titian.org.
celebrate mass culture of the 1970s. Whereas critics recognized Manet’s figure as a prostitute from Parisian life,¹⁵ the two women in Ramos’ print are both idealizations: the face of the reclined figure comes from a lifestyle magazine while the servant’s look is an appropriation from a cosmetics advertisement.¹⁶ ¹⁷ The cornered monkey—a visual break from the wavering feline—was chosen simply because Ramos was confident in his ability to paint the animal and found Manet inept at rendering a cat.¹⁸ Even Manet’s painting style is altered to match the feeling of Ramos’ home state of California. As one author argues, “Were Venus, we realize, to be carried to the shore on Pacific waves and land on a beach in California, she might well be a sultry blond surf girl who would remove her bathing suit just before usurping the throne of Manet’s modernized sex queen.”¹⁹ Without a substantial real world grounding, Ramos’ print becomes an empty hodgepodge of advertisement culture and nostalgia, a medley of references. 15. Reviewers in 1865 recognized Manet’s model from their own experiences with prostitution—one linked her whereabouts to a popular rendezvous center while another recognized her from a specific club in Les Halles de Paris. Clark,
original critics. Reproducibility, as a solution to meet the social desire for making things more immediate, decays the uniqueness of an object by stripping it of its history and its tradition.²³ Manet’s Olympia, as pastiche, capitalizes on the decay of Olympia’s tradition via reproduction. In turn, it serves as a parody of the contemporary status of high art itself. Such playful parody was key for Ramos, an artist who claims that humor has always mattered to his practice and that high art “takes itself too seriously.”²⁴ Manet’s Olympia, then, challenges the ways that we glorify certain images through their reproductions by treating an overlyreproduced avant-garde painting as a banal image from mass culture. Make no mistake, though, Manet’s Olympia reveals the ways in which high art, and more specifically the nude genre, persists in the dominative image circulation of present-day media. The figure in Manet’s Olympia unquestionably typifies the sex appeal of women in contemporary pornography—Ramos’ slick presentation removes any imperfections from her body in a way that dehumanizes her.²⁵ Additionally, as noted above, she is an idealization made from magazine parts and fantasy—she is simply beyond reality. But her desirability, I would argue, does not come from her full-breasts or perfect complexion. Rather, she is desirable because of the popularity of Manet’s painting. Ramos considers the pairing of popular culture and pornography a “social condition…
“Preliminaries,” 261. 16. Klaus Honnef, “Girls, Candies, and Art: The World of Mel Ramos,” in Mel Ramos: 50
20. Ramos, “Talking with Mel Ramos,” 18.
Years of Pop Art, ed. by Otto Letze (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2010),
22. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in
17. Mel Ramos, “Talking with Mel Ramos,” interview with Carl Belz, in Mel Ramos: A
Illuminations, ed. by Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 4.
Twenty-Year Survey (Waltham, MA: Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, 1980), 22.
23. Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” 6.
18. Ramos, “Talking with Mel Ramos,” 24.
24. Ramos, “Talking with Mel Ramos,” 24.
19. Robert Rosenblum, “Mel Ramos: How Venus Came to California,” in On Modern
25. Donald Kuspit, “The Uses of Irony: Popularity and Beauty in Mel Ramos’ Painting,”
America: Selected Essays by Robert Rosenblum (New York: Harry N. Abrams,
in Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies: The Complete Paintings by Donald Kuspit with Louis
Incorporated, 1999), 242.
Meisel (New York: Watson Guptill Publications, 2004), 23.
something which is bizarre,” and he takes no position on its decency.²⁶ But participating in this pairing is something Ramos does not hold back from: his body of work includes renderings of pinups (with idealized traits common in pornography) straddling and groping bottles of Hunt’s ketchup, tubes of Colgate toothpaste, and rolls of Lifesavers candy. Here, Ramos seems to be suggesting that while sex certainly infiltrates the world of advertising, it still takes a back seat to the product itself. Manet’s Olympia, another image that upholds this relationship, evokes a kind comparability to famous brands because it capitalizes on Olympia—now accepted as a positive moment in art history—as a desirable image, an object of consumption.²⁷ And like other examples from Ramos’ oeuvre, the physical features of the figure in Manet’s Olympia are exaggerated to the point of artificiality so that her desirability is trumped by the desirability of a product that exists in the real world for real consumption—Olympia. The invented figure in Manet’s Olympia contains codes common in 1970s pornography that may make her appealing for some, but her lure stems from her perpetual embodiment of the “seductiveness of great art.”²⁸ In the context of Summer Breaks: Labor, Leisure, Lust, Manet’s Olympia becomes a kind of talisman. It embodies all aspects of the subtitle with references to historical indicators of prostitution, servantry, and sexuality. But the specific connection to lust in Manet’s Olympia becomes the most important one: yes, there is certain amount of lust assumed when looking at an idealized nude, but there also exists a kind of lust for viewing prolific artworks like Olympia. And indeed, if mass media have desensitized us to images of idealized female nudes (as is often argued), then the figure alone in Ramos’ print should not be enough to stimulate the kind of interested viewing that his artworks—and this print in particular—aim to elicit. Rather, she needs help from the mattresses, the slippers, the servant with flowers, and the animal to capture our full attention. Summer Breaks is an exploration of the visual conventions of both art and non-art imagery, and Manet’s Olympia celebrates—and capitalizes on—both.
26. Ramos, “Talking with Mel Ramos,” 20. 27. Kuspit, “The Uses of Irony,” 19. 28. Kuspit, “The Uses of Irony,” 29.
Louis Lozowick and the Human Condition Ash Braunecker University of Louisville
Louis Lozowick and the Human Condition
After receiving an art degree from Ohio State University in 1918 and spending a year in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Lozowick moved to Paris and studied French at the Sorbonne, then relocated to Berlin in 1922 where he enrolled at the Friedrick Wilhelms Universität. It was in Berlin—
In The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), Norwegian-American
and then briefly in Moscow—that he became serious about painting and
economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen analyzed the implications
established connections with leading Russian artists. During this time,
of “conspicuous consumption” for various social classes. He contended
he had his first solo exhibitions at K. E. Twardy Book Shop (Berlin, 1922)
that individuals at the top of the social hierarchy—those who own the
and Gallerie Alfred Heller (Berlin, 1923), and was noted as being the most
means of production—have carved out an existence that affords a life
recognized American artist working in Berlin.⁴
of conspicuous consumption and leisure: unproductive activities that
Working mainly as a graphic artist, Lozowick supplemented his
fail to contribute to the economy and the production of useful goods
income with commercial work as well as teaching art history and
and services needed in a functioning society. Although useless to
lithography classes, lecturing, and writing about art. He moved to New
society at large, these modes of consumption enforce an ancient social
York in 1924, where he continued teaching and cofounded New Masses,
stratification, a division between those who are capable of choosing the
an American Marxist magazine published from 1926 to 1948. During
work they pursue thanks to their privileged status, and those who are
the Great Depression, he began utilizing his artwork to further explore
not. In regards to the “working “class—those employed in industrialized
his interest in the human condition, which would become a reoccurring
and productive, although unskilled, occupations—society views their
theme throughout his oeuvre. His prints—which to date had largely
employment as shameful compared to the honorific status of their
depicted cityscapes—began to increasingly incorporate people. In a
1969 exhibition catalog, David Shapiro (President, Society of American
Drawing on Veblen’s theory, this essay analyzes the artwork of
Graphic Artists) wrote:
Louis Lozowick (American painter and printmaker, 1892-1973) and provides a critical framework for thinking about the working class in
In his most recent prints, Louis Lozowick shows more concern with people
contemporary society. Lozowick’s decidedly Precisionist work depicts
than with things. The Precisionist symbols are gone. The humanist ones have
the condition of the working class, often through recourse to figures with
taken over almost completely. The sympathy with the poor, the oppressed, is
indistinguishable faces. In so doing, his work serves to illustrate Veblen’s
evident. Gone, seemingly, is the attraction to the mathematical pattern, the
notion of shameful employment.
verticals of the smokestacks, the raw brutal power of things. In its place is the
Born in the Russian Empire during a time of social unrest, Lozowick began his studies at an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva at the bequest of his devout father. However, upon seeing the filthy conditions of the school, his older brother withdrew him in 1903 and enrolled him in the Kiev Art
need to identify with poor people in different countries of the world. Gone, too, is the purported “American” aspect which, one supposes in retrospect, may have been in actuality only the combination of American subject matter with the feeling of American materialism so beloved by European critics. The subject matter now is concerned with people who, though they age and die,
School. According to Lozowick’s memoirs, the school taught drawing
constantly recreate themselves, and who are the ones responsible for the
and painting with more rigidity and lack of imagination than his religious
symbols of power and industry found in the earlier work.⁵
studies at the yeshiva. Nevertheless, Lozowick displayed an aptitude for drawing and quickly becoming a technically proficient artist. Following
Throughout his career, Lozowick exhibited work internationally and
his brother’s socialist involvement in the Russian Revolution of 1905, the
was the recipient of numerous awards; his work can be found in the
two brothers immigrated to the United States where Lozowick attended
collections of major museums throughout the United States. Although
the National Academy of Design in New York (renamed the National Academy Museum and School; commonly known as the
4. William C. Lipke, “Abstraction and Realism: The Machine Aesthetic and Social
National Academy).² ³
Realism,” in Abstraction and Realism: 1923-1943, Paintings, Drawings, and Lithographs of Louis Lozowick (Burlington: Robert Hull Fleming Museum, 1971), catalog essay,
1. Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class
accessed April 21, 2016 through “Louis Lozowick,” Smithsonian Archives of American
(New York: Macmillan, 1899).
Art, (series 6.1, box 4, reel 5898, frame 1089) http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/louis-
2. Louis Lozowick, Survivor from a Dead Age: The Memoirs of Louis Lozowick, ed.
Virginia Hagelstein Marquardt (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997).
5. David Shapiro, [essay title not available], in Louis Lozowick: Graphic Retrospective
3. See [for biographical information] “Louis Lozowick Papers, 1898-1974,” Smithsonian
(Newark: Newark Public Library, 1969), catalog essay, accessed April 21, 2016 through
Archives of American Art, accessed April 21, 2016, http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/
“Louis Lozowick,” Smithsonian Archives of American Art, (series 6.1, box 4, reel 5898,
frame 1042) http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/louis-lozowick-papers-9174.
the Precisionist artists never formally organized, Precisionism was the first modern art movement in the United States and correlated with Russian Constructivism, Italian Futurism, and Dutch De Stijl. As an international scholar—well versed in European art movements—Lozowick is considered one of the earliest figures in the international machine aesthetic, and he was particularly interested in Russian and Jewish art, on which he wrote extensively. As can be seen through Lozowick’s impeccable work, the Precisionists practiced a controlled technique with compositions reduced to the underlying geometry of structures that featured clear outlines and smooth surfaces. Overall, there was a great emphasis on dramatic perspectives and a sharp focus on abstract form. While there was a shared international language among the era’s avantgarde movements, the Precisionists were distinctly American artists who shared a specific focus on U.S. landscapes and culture, which included the quickly developing industrial landscape of the twentieth-century as well as classic rural landscapes. Within the Precisionist camp, there were two general views of the machine’s place in the rapidly changing world— it would bring order, or it would dehumanize society by replacing human workers and degrading the landscape.⁶ The aesthetic and content of Lozowick’s works—his hard-edged depictions of faceless individuals in industrial cityscapes—in conjunction with his ties to Marxist publications, affirm a reading that his work advances a pessimistic view of industrial capitalism. According to Marxist analysis, under capitalism, the laborer sells his time to the capitalist in exchange for a wage. The laborer produces commodities, which the capitalist sells in order to extract a profit. The capitalist seeks to get the most profit from the lowest wage, and in this respect the laborer’s product—his labor time—works against his best interests. Because the laborer does not control what commodities he makes or the terms under which they are made, he becomes alienated from the act of his work. “[T]he worker is related to the product of his labour [sic] as to an alien object.”⁷ Marx argued that the worker’s life now belongs to the physical commodity he produces—the greater the product, the less he is himself—and his labor has become alien to him. Thus, the worker’s labor now exists outside of himself and wields power over him, as it belongs to someone else (his employer). In addition, the laborer’s competition with other workers for jobs—for the ability to relinquish time to employers— alienates workers from each other. This sense of Marxist alienation—or estrangement—and Veblen’s notion of shameful employment reverberate in Lozowick’s Loading (1930). In this Precisionist composition, Lozowick’s workers blend into their industrial landscape; their bodies are voided of 6. Jessica Murphy, “Precisionism,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, published June 2007, http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/prec/hd_prec.htm. 7. Karl Marx, “Estranged Labour,” in Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961), 70.
Louis Lozowick, Loading, 1930, monochromatic lithograph, approx. 10 5/8 x 7 3/8". University of Louisville Art Collection.
distinct facial features, and they become part of the inhuman machinery of landscape. Novel of Adventure (1942) focuses on a more intimate human condition. The subject is a woman who has fallen asleep while reading a book. The print was created during the height of World War II, a time when U.S. women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers to accommodate the loss of male workers to the war effort. Thus, it could be assumed that while the woman leisurely read, she was interrupted by her workday exhaustion. Lozowick further solidifies the woman’s connection to the labor of the machine age through the display of a framed image depicting an industrial factory setting. Marxist labor alienation describes a society stratified into owners and
portrayal of faceless workers, his prints illustrate the essence of Veblen’s argument. As the leisure class “dresses up” in an attempt to display their supremacy in the social hierarchy, working class individuals who cannot afford such consumption and who do not control their labor time come to lose their individual identity. As the picture on display in Novel of Adventure suggests, artwork is complicit in processes of conspicuous consumption, and thus becomes a particularly apt mode of addressing and critiquing issues of social stratification. In addition, the mechanical reproducibility of printmaking makes such work particularly appropriate to mass consumption. The fact that Lozowick produced images of faceless, alienated workers for purchase by (at least potentially) an artsavvy professional class poses a series of questions. Does the gesture illustrate compassion—whether real or fictional—for working class conditions? Does it express empathy with industrial loss of identity? Or does it insist on the continued distinction between the faceless workers and the capitalists who decorate homes with their pictures?
Louis Lozowick, Novel of Adventure, 1942, lithograph, approx. 13” x 8 ”. University of Louisville Art Collection.
workers, a stratification that maps to Veblen’s theory of the leisure class. Veblen argued that regardless of capitalism’s drive to evolve society, conspicuous consumption emerges from a primitive urge; humans simply have an innate desire for social hierarchy. With the nineteenthcentury’s Industrial Revolution, living standards improved and society split further into class groups. In turn, consumption developed into more sophisticated displays of social status, particularly displays of leisure (as opposed to practical utility). Working within the coded imagery of Marxism and the Precisionist avant-garde, Lozowick’s lithographs illustrate a compelling narration of the early twentieth-century working class condition. Through the
Women as Decoration Madison Sevilla University of Louisville
Women as Decoration Summer Breaks: Labor, Leisure, Lust investigates and pressures standard tropes for representing labor, leisure, and lust in American print work from the 20th Century, particularly as they are articulated across social and gender constructs. The women in these prints are often treated as objects of consumption for the viewer. This objectification not only strips the women of their personae, but it also deprives them of their humanity. By disarticulating the female body and overlaying or incorporating decorative patterns, works like Heirloom 2 (N.D.), HandPainted Tie (1964), and Venus (1998) depict women in states of leisure while simultaneously treating them as objects of leisurely consumption. Historically, women have been viewed as physically, spiritually, and economically lesser than their male counterparts. According to American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen, the need for a system of social stratification persists from our barbarian origins. In barbarian culture, each member worked laboriously to survive; however,
Carl E. Schwartz, Heirloom 2 (N.D.), Lithograph 22 x 30”.
within this system there were still dividing lines between the roles that
University of Louisville Art Collection.
were male dominated and the inferior roles of the women; i.e., hunters
The woman, consistently objectified in society, is considered an
versus gatherers. Throughout history, women have served men in some
object of leisure, just as she consumes leisure objects. The objects that
capacity: at times supplying them with children, sex, or functioning as
surround her and the clothes that she wears manufacture her status.
a mere ornament to be looked at, but acting always as the inferior sex.¹
Berger suggests that there is nothing a woman can do, say, or buy that
Art critic and novelist John Berger, in his book Ways of Seeing (adapted
does not add to the presence that she is attempting to create.⁴ My
from his 1972 BBC television series), describes the subordinate life of
analysis only departs slightly from Berger’s on this point, as I agree with
women in culture. Women have been raised to understand that they are
Veblen’s theory that the male psyche also curates his style, speech, and
to be kept by men, if not physically, then visually.² A woman is aware
gestures to compose an identity that he wants to put forth.⁵ However,
that she is watched and judged by others in ways that differ from her
for men, one of the carefully selected objects in this curation is a female
male counterparts. Women are constantly aware of those watching them,
companion. Historically, if a man worked, his wife would be expected
tracking how much space they take up, how much they eat, how often
to stay home and consume for him, furnishing their house with objects
they speak, and what they wear. This intense focus causes women to
and buying expensive clothes to adorn herself. These clothes become
develop a self-awareness of their bodies and habits; they become both the viewer and the viewed. This female conflation of subject and voyeur affirms the assumption that men have the ability to act and exist in their own right free from constant observation. However, women must simply
3. Berger, Ways, 47. “One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear . Men look at women. Women watch themselves.” 4. Berger, Ways, 46. “a woman's presence expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and cannot be done to her. Her presence is manifest in her gestures,
appear, existing as an object to be watched by men and critiqued by
voice, opinions, expressions, clothes, chosen surroundings, taste - indeed there is
themselves and other women.³
nothing she can do which does not contribute to her presence.” 5. Veblen, Theory, 19. “In all but the lowest stages of culture the normally constituted
1. Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of
man is comforted and upheld in his self-respect by “decent surroundings” and by
Institutions. (The Modern Library of the World’s Best Books; New York: Modern
exemption from “menial offices.” Enforced departure from his habitual standard of
Library, 1934), 4. “There is in all barbarian communities a profound sense of
decency, either in the paraphernalia of life or in the kind and amount of his everyday
the disparity between man’s and woman’s work. His work may conduce to the
activity, is felt to be a slight upon his human dignity, even apart from all conscious
maintenance of the group, but it is felt that it does so through an excellence and an
consideration of the approval or disapproval of his fellows.”
efficacy of a kind that cannot without derogation be compared with the uneventful
6. Veblen, Theory, 30.
diligence of the women.”
7. Veblen, Theory, 19. “A life of leisure is the readiest and most conclusive evidence
2. John Berger, Ways of Seeing. (A Pelican Original; Pelican original. London: British
of pecuniary strength, and therefore of superior force; provided always that the
Broadcasting Corp., 1977): 46 “To be born a woman has been to be born, within an
gentleman of leisure can live in manifest ease and comfort .”
allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men.”
8. Veblen, Theory, 21.
economic superiority.⁸ Laura de Bolanos Volkerding’s Hand Painted Tie (1964) features a male and female figure in an unconventional composition. The image is tightly cropped, showcasing the torso of a man wearing a paisley tie with a woman’s head embroidered into the fabric. The female is literally disembodied and acts as a decoration for a physical object not only owned, but also worn by a man. In Ways of Seeing Berger examines the Allegory of Time and Love (1545) by Bronzino, which depicts Cupid kissing Venus. Berger observes that the way in which Venus’ body is arranged has nothing to do with her kissing—she is sitting upright and is contorted in a slight side bend with one arm raised holding Cupid’s arrow.⁹ Venus is painted in this position to appeal to the male gaze and is specifically situated for his enjoyment. “It has nothing to do with her sexuality…women are there to feed an appetite, not to have any of their own.”¹⁰ Just as Venus is composed as a visual object for the male gaze, the woman in Hand Painted Tie appears as a decoration void of identity and intended only to demonstrate her wearer’s social status. This detachment and objectification becomes more absolute as the woman becomes further dissociated from her body. In the case of Hand Painted Tie the women’s face is legible—it is in fact the man’s face that is not seen; her beauty becomes a symbol of his identity. A true loss of identity and depersonalization occurs when the female is visually and symbolically decapitated in the image. Venus (1998), printed by Arthur Werger, is a voyeuristic, underwater observation of a woman swimming. The figure is cut off at the shoulders by the break between the viewer and the surface of the water. The only indication of her head and potential identity is the hair cascading down her back. Flowers and leaves decorate her torso, much like that of the paisleys in Hand-Painted Tie, and the reflection from the water cascades on her skin mimicking the veins on the leaves. Her skin becomes as much a decoration as the swimsuit that she wears and she stands in a manner to be consumed by Laura (de Bolanos) Volkerding, Hand Painted Tie (1964), Woodcut 21 x 14 3/4” University of Louisville Art Collection.
an emblem not only of her status, but a symbol of her husband’s earning power—a power evidenced through her “conspicuous consumption,” a phrase coined by Veblen to denote the consumption of objects to display wealth.⁶ The female becomes an object to be decorated within the man’s life as proof of his own wealth. In our industrious world, a life of leisure
the viewer. The aquatint print is saturated with brilliant colors that draw the viewer’s eye towards her torso first, and then to the rest of her body. She is waiting, possibly taking a break, but nevertheless stopping in a freeze frame for the viewer to consume. A study published by the European Journal of Social Psychology 11. Steve Loughnan, Nick Haslam, Tess Murnane, Jeroen Vaes, Catherine Reynolds and Caterina Suitner. “Objectification Leads to Depersonalization: The Denial of Mind
that allows one to live in “manifest ease and comfort” is the ultimate
and Moral Concern to Objectified Others.” European Journal of Social Psychology
goal for both the male and female.⁷ We value our worth based on the
40 (2010): 709. “Objectification has interested philosophers since the term was
property that we obtain and the ease in which we obtain it, which is
introduced by Immanuel Kant. Kant argued that the risk of objectification is present
why abstention from labor is one of the greatest indicators of social and
in all sexual encounters, where a person can become merely a need-satisfying ‘object of appetite’.” 12. Veblen, Theories, 35. “The consumption of luxuries, in the true sense, is a
9. Berger, Ways, 55.
consumption directed to the comfort of the consumer himself, and is, therefore, a
10. Berger, Ways, 55.
mark of the master.”
and thus a sign of conspicuous consumption of her “master.”¹² The female is not expected to consume for her own leisure. Instead, women are expected to consume for others: dressing herself, embellishing her house, and ultimately keeping up appearances for her family. The moderately unconventional female nude that is Carl E. Schwartz’s Heirloom 2 (N.D.) displays a highly stylized woman half decapitated by the edge of the image. The female figure is lying on a couch with floral prints bleeding onto her body like tattoos beginning to envelop her in a cocoon. The figure looks like she is both at ease and as if she is in motion, her hands are delicate, yet awkward as they trace along her shoulders and as one knee is brought up towards her waist. Curvaceous, yet fit, it is difficult to tell whether the female is full figured or muscular. It is as if half of her body resembles one of Michelangelo’s Sybil’s on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, while the other half is gentle and feminine. Regardless of her physique, she is laid out for the viewer to see, her face removed from the lips down. The eyes of the woman, a reflection of her soul, are cut out of the image to eliminate her potentially uncomfortable gaze at the viewer. The appearance of her lips allows the viewer to be seduced, but her missing eyes insure this seduction comes without confrontation. Heirloom 2 manages to include most of the female erogenous zones while still denying the subject an identity. The word “heirloom” is used to describe a valuable object that has been possessed by a family for generations. The title Heirloom 2 suggests that the woman depicted is a valuable object, and thus resembles something like a piece of jewelry rather than a human being. Further, the patterning on the couch both in front of and behind the figure is once again of a floral pattern. There are multiple associations between women and flowers, many of which revolve around her presumed innocence. However, here the patterning claims her as a decorative object, one to be passed on and kept—a possession rather than a person. Hand-Painted Tie, Venus, and Heirloom 2 play with the codes of seeing that modern western viewers have been trained to understand, and they affirm the ways in which women are objectified when differing from Arthur Werger, Venus (1998), Aquatint 35 1/2 x 23 1/2”. University of Louisville Art Collection
the traditional female nude. The figures in these works, when viewed together, reveal the codes used to articulate women as decorative
(2010) investigated the depth at which objectification leads to
objects. Such codes take away women’s identities in order to turn them
personalization. In the article, the authors reference Immanuel Kant to
into objects of consumption. By physically detaching these female
discuss “the risk of objectification present in all sexual encounters, where
bodies from their minds and by overlying those bodies with decorative
a person can become merely a need-satisfying ‘object of appetite’.”¹¹ By
patterns, these prints remove any threat of confrontation or resistance
decapitating the figure—and thus stripping her of a specific identity—
to male voyeuristic consumption. This allows the viewer to see these
the print offers the viewer a depersonalized body depicted in a state
women not only as objects, but also as objects to be possessed by male
of leisure. She becomes a part of the background, an ornament to go
spectators either through the actual purchase of the artwork or through
with the pool, herself an object of leisure to be used for male recreation.
the command of their gaze.
Veblen describes this consumption of luxuries by the female as being a “mark” of the consumption “directed to the comfort of the consumer,”
Arne Charles Besser Bridgehampton 1979 Silkscreen 25 x 18 1/2"
David Bumbeck Girl with pictures No date Etching and aquatint 5 x 6â€?
Hilo Chen Rooftop Sunbather No date Silkscreen 16 3/4 x 25â€?
Richard Diebenkorn Seated Woman in Striped Dress 1965 Lithograph 28 x 22â€?
Fritz Eichenberg Subway 1943 Wood engraving 6 1/4 x 4 3/4â€?
Antonio Frasconi Fishermen 1953 Woodcut 10 5/8 x 7 7/8â€?
Emil Ganso At the Sea Shore 1932 Wood engraving 8 x 12â€?
Dilley, Martin and Hess, Inc. Vacation Loan Ad No Date Print on poster board 27 1/2 x 21 1/2"
Tom Huck Mile High Hand Job 2011 Woodcut 12 x 12â€?
Louis Lozowick Loading 1930 Lithograph 10 5/8 x 7 3/8â€?
Louis Lozowick Novel of Adventure 1942 Lithograph 12 15/16 x 8 1/8â€?
Noel Mahaffey Night — Times Square 1979 Silkscreen 17 x 25 1/8”
Barry Moser The Lovers 1999 Relief engraving (AP) 16 x 11â€?
Mel Ramos Manet’s Olympia 1974 Collotype 15 3/8 x 22 1/8”
Mel Ramos Touché Boucher 1974 Collotype 16 x 20 1/4”
Carl E. Schwartz Heirloom 2 No date Lithograph 22 x 30â€?
John Sloan Connoisseurs of Prints 1905 Etching 4 7/8 x 6 7/8"
Laura (de Bolanos) Volkerding Hand Painted Tie 1964 Woodcut 21 x 14 3/4â€?
Arthur Werger Venus 1998 Aquatint 35 1/2 x 23 1/2â€?
Wolf Zingraff Afternoon...The Whole Thing 1972 Print 15 x 11 1/2â€?
Exhibiton Checklist 1. Arne Charles Besser
9. Tom Huck
18. John Sloan
Mile High Hand Job
Connoisseurs of Prints
25 x 18 ½”
12 x 12”
4 7/8 X 6 7/8”
2. David Bumbeck
10. Louis Lozowick
19. Laura (de Bolanos)
Girl with Pictures
Hand Painted Tie
Etching and aquatint
5 x 6”
10 5/8 x 7 3/8”
3. Hilo Chen
11. Louis Lozowick
Novel of Adventure
20. Arthur Werger
16 ¾ x 25”
12 15/16 x 8 1/8”
4. Richard Diebenkorn
12. Noel Mahaffey
Seated Woman in Striped Dress
Night – Times Square
21. Wolf Zingraff
Afternoon...The Whole Thing
28 x 22”
17 x 25 1/8”
5. Fritz Eichenberg
13. Barry Moser
Relief engraving (AP)
6 ¼ x 4 ¾”
16 x 11”
6. Antonio Frasconi
14. Mel Ramos
10 5/8 x 7 7/8”
15 3/8 x 22 1/8”
7. Emil Ganso
15. Mel Ramos
At the Sea Shore
8 x 12”
16 x 20 ¼”
8. Dilley, Martin and Hess, Inc
17. Carl E. Schwartz
Vacation Loan Ad
Print on poster board
27 1/2 x 21 1/2"
22 x 30”
21 x 14 ¾”
35 ½ x 23 ½”
15 X 11 1/2”
Hite Art Institute The Department of Fine Arts at the University of Louisville was founded in 1937. In 1946, the Department was endowed as the Hite Art Institute in recognition of the bequest of Allen R. and Marcia S. Hite. The Institute currently has 24 full-time faculty members, a full-time staff of six, and 400 undergraduate and graduate majors in the combined studio, art history, and critical & curatorial studies areas. As the most comprehensive Fine Arts program in the state of Kentucky, we offer majors the opportunity to earn a BA, BFA, MA or MFA in a variety of disciplines. Areas of study include art history, ceramics, critical & curatorial studies, drawing, fiber, glass, graphic design, interior design, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. The University of Louisville, founded in 1798, is one of the oldest municipal universities in the United States. With a current enrollment of 22,000 students, the University of Louisville is Kentucky’s major urban university and one of the most rapidly expanding universities in the United States. The Hite Art Institute maintains six art galleries which feature rotating exhibitions by nationally and internationally renowned artists and designers, as well as students and faculty of the Institute. Schneider Hall, on the Belknap campus of the University of Louisville, is home to the Morris B. Belknap Gallery, Dario A. Covi Gallery, and Gallery X, as well as a library dedicated to fine arts scholarship. The Cressman Center for Visual Arts, located in the heart of the downtown arts district, houses the John B. and Bonnie Seidman Roth Gallery, Leonard and Adele Leight Gallery, and the Alice S. and Irvin F. Etscorn Gallery for ongoing exhibitions, and provides the public with an opportunity to observe the daily operations of the glass studio.
College of Arts and Science The mission of the College of Arts and Sciences is to improve life in the Commonwealth and particularly in the greater Louisville urban area, creating knowledge through its research, sharing knowledge through its teaching, and guiding all its students to realize their potential. We believe that an excellent education in the liberal arts and sciences is the best preparation for life and work in a world of increasing diversity and ever-accelerating change because its prepares our graduates to be informed and critical thinkers, creative problem-solvers, and confident communicators. Our students learn by doing: They conduct research and express their creativity, include ethical considerations in their thinking, and experience the world from the perspectives of other cultures. The College brings the heritage of intellectual tradition to bear on the challenges of the future.
University of Louisville The University of Louisville is a state supported research university located in Kentucky’s largest metropolitan area. It was a municipally supported public institution for many decades prior to joining the university system in 1970. The University has three campuses. The 287-acre Belknap Campus is three miles from downtown Louisville and houses seven of the university’s 12 colleges and schools. The Health Sciences Center is situated in downtown Louisville’s medical complex and houses the university’s health related programs and the University of Louisville Hospital. The 243-acre Shelby Campus is located in eastern Jefferson County. Mission Statement: The University of Louisville shall be a premier, nationally recognized metropolitan research university with a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our diverse communities and citizens through the pursuit of excellence in five interrelated strategic areas: (1) Educational Experience, (2) Research, Creative, and Scholarly Activity, (3) Accessibility, Diversity, Equity, and Communication, (4) Partnerships and Collaborations, (5) Institutional Effectiveness of Programs and Services.
Hite Art Institute Faculty & Staff Faculty Ying Kit Chan, MFA Professor and Chair Moon-he Baik, MFA Associate Professor, Interior Design
Leslie Friesen, BA Power Creative
Peter Morrin, MFA
Associate in Fine Arts
Graphic Design Maggie Leininger, MFA Assistant Professor, Fiber / Mixed Media
Part-time Faculty Steven Cheek, MFA Jennifer Dumesnil, MS
Todd Burns, MFA
WDirector, International Honor
Associate Professor, Ceramics
Kyoungmee Kate Byun, MFA
Philip Miller, MFA
Assistant Professor, Interior
Assistant Professor, Foundations
Bill Gilliss, MFA
Christopher Fulton, PhD
Megan Kocisak, MA
Design Mary Carothers, MFA Associate Professor, Photography Mitch Eckert, MFA Associate Professor, Photography James Grubola, MFA Professor, Drawing, Director of Graduate Studies in Studio Art Barbara Hanger, MFA Associate Professor, Art Education
Associate Professor, Art History
Jesse Gibbs, BFA Sculpture Shop Technician Amy Fordham, MA, MLIS
Mark Rosenthal, MA
Women’s and Gender Studies
Exhibitions Assistant Renée K. Murphy, BFA Administrative Assistant
and Art History
Pearlie Johnson, PhD
John Begley, MFA
Unit Business Manager
Assistant Professor, Pan-African Studies and Art History Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, PhD Associate Professor, Art History
Professor, Graphic Design
Graduate Program Assistant
Bess Reed, PhD
Associate Professor, Painting
Steven Skaggs, MS
Art History Program,
Susan Jarosi, PhD
Delin Lai, PhD
Assistant Professor, Printmaking
Program Assistant, Senior,
Jessica Bennett Kincaid, MA
Gabrielle Mayer, MFA
Rachel Singel, MFA
Sharon Leightty, MFA
Associate Professor, Glass
Graduate Program Assistant
Associate Professor, Art History
Associate Professor, Sculpture
Ché Rhodes, MFA
Academic Coordinator, Senior
Curator of Visual Resources
Benjamin Hufbauer, PhD
Scott Massey, MFA
Brian Faust, BFA
Theresa Berbet, MA
Matthew Landrus, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies in
Mark Priest, MFA
Wendy Dunleavy, MA
Art History Cristina Carbone, PhD Assistant Professor, Art History Chris Reitz, PhD Assistant Professor, Director of Graduate Studies in Critical and Curatorial Studies, and Gallery Director, Hite Art Institute
Thomas Buser, PhD Stow Chapman, MArch Henry Chodkowski, MFA Dario Covi, PhD Julia Duncan, MA Linda Gigante, PhD Lida Gordon, MFA Jay Kloner, PhD Stephanie Maloney, PhD Suzanne Mitchell, MFA William Morgan, PhD Nancy Pearcy, MA John Whitesell, MFA
Published on Mar 7, 2018