"Beyond the Gaze: Reclaiming the Female Form After Nochlin," Los Angeles Review of Books, January 28, 2018.
Many artists have taken the woman at her bath as a subject. Degas, Manet, Courbet, Picasso — all painted the bathing female nude. Often her face is obscured or turned away from us. She is captured unawares. Koons’s woman is on the other edge of that moment, taken by surprise. He spells it out for us: “There’s a snorkel and somebody is doing something to her under the water because she’s grabbing her breasts for protection. But the viewer also wants to victimize her.”
It is not as if I ever liked the piece, but I didn’t quite have the language to reject it either. I would just walk out of the gallery, irritated and maybe a little embarrassed by my prudish disgust. But this afternoon was different.
I had been reading Linda Nochlin.
Read more here.