Archive for March, 2010

Isn't it brilliant?!?

While greedily swallowing my lunch today at work, one of my midday meal buddies brought to my attention a recent controversy that had made the news. My stomach continued to audibly profess its desire for fulfillment, but I was able to wrestle my attention away from the plastic container of spaghetti in front of me, and listen. She told me that a mural had been painted in Times Square and was garnering quite a bit of backlash for the artist. After I finished my lunch, I went back to my desk and battled through my seemingly endless workload, then put in a few hours of over time just for the hell of it. Ahhh ha ha ha!! You didn’t believe that, did you? Come on!!! I did what any normal person would do. I Googled it as soon as I got back to my desk. Anyway, I saw the mural, realized why people could be offended by it, and watched a few videos of pedestrians complaining about it and/or praising the work. The artwork was done by Sofia Maldonado, a 26 year old Latina artist. For those of you that haven’t seen it, here is part of it…….

Now, Art is all about perception. Some people who disapproved of the mural argued that ‘Black and Latino women shouldn’t be portrayed as prostitutes and hoochies’. To that I say, because a woman wears a short skirt, does that mean she’s a prostitute? Big hoop earrings and knee-high boots make her a woman of the night? ¬†Does a low cleavage line on a shirt mean that she’s accepting payment for pleasure? When I looked at the smaller aspects of the mural, like the four finger ring, the multi-colored hair and the big earrings as well as the long painted nails I realized that they are all a throwback to the past. All of these items were once trends in the urban community. That was my perception of it. Now, don’t get me wrong, the boobs busting out, and women bent over are a little risque, but this is a part of the artists style. I did a little searching and found past works by Sofia that were done in much “lower traffic areas” where women were painted pink, blue and even green. Some had shirts revealing cleavage, some weren’t even clothed. I’m not excusing the fact that they are “scantily clad” or not clad at all, but just saying that if they were painted a different color, in a different area, this wouldn’t be an issue. Being that they are in one of the busiest places on the planet they gain a lot more exposure. ¬†Therefore, a lot more criticism.

To reiterate, art is about perception, as evidenced by the mixed reviews given by the public. When I saw the piece I didn’t see “hoochies” or “prostitues”, I saw an artists expression of her world, I saw talent in the form paint brushes dipped in creativity, and spread across a canvas of fearlessness. Nobody knows what the artist was thinking when she did the piece. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t out to portray Black and Latino women in a negative light. What do you think? Is this art degrading to women? Is it even art at all? Are people too sensitive? Comments are welcome…