August 8, 2020

Casting her critical eye over the contemporary art scene, Pollock discusses Now published with a new introduction by Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference. Griselda Pollock provides concrete historical analyses of key moments in Now published with a new introduction, Vision and Difference is as. Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art Griselda Pollock Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and the Histories of Art.

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Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art – Griselda Pollock – Google Books

grriselda Review Essay Vision and Difference: Review Differencf Work s: Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship.

Approaching art as a social prac-with corrective case studies, connecting tice, Pollock calls for a paradigm differece. Inflecting a social historyArtists that favored the success of certain of art with the concerns of a feminist his-aristocratic women painters. She notes, G riselda Pollock and Laura Mulvey, two of the most prolific and widely however, that the literature framed their torical materialism, she relates art to gen- respected feminists working today on gen- dered experiences as well as to the materi-success as exceptional, obscuring women’s der and art, have each recently published al conditions within which art is produced diffreence participation in artistic produc- collections of their own essays-Pollock’s and circulated.

The notion that women participated written during the s, Mulvey’s begin- In “Vision, Voice and Power: According to Renaissance distinc- for their practice. These anthologies vlsion that women play a structural role intions between intellectual and manual enable readers to plot the authors’ respec- mainstream art history despite or actually labor, writers like Vasari privileged certain tive maneuvers in dramatically shifting because of their exclusion from the canon.

Perhaps line itself a social construct. The femi-meaning, and these distinctions are no Mulvey reflects more self-consciously than nine is construed as masculinity’s oppo- longer current in feminist literature. Pollock on the theoretical terrain she has site-“the necessary term of difference, Although the work of many Renaissance traversed, using her introduction and sev- the foil against which a never-acknowl- women merits attention, it is misleading to edged masculine privilege of art can be eral essays to map the pitfalls and peaks of obscure its relatively low status at the time her previous interventions.

Both anthologies is consistently disparaged, Pollock endors- Femininity” picks up differene a theme intro- examine critical shifts in feminist inquiry es “historical forms of explanation grisselda duced earlier-the need to direct atten- into cultural production. With Pollock and women’s artistic production.

Here, Mulvey these shifts are based grisselda on injunction is to focus on individual work by Cassatt and Morisot is discussed encounters with Marxism, structuralism, women’s strategies and practices, on theagainst the backdrop of T. Clark’s social- and a cross-section of psychoanalytic theo- historical account of modernity and mod- specificity of particular texts and historical ries drawn from Freud, Lacan, and French moments, on the nature of the work’s orig-ernism in 19th-century Paris.

In The feminist appropriations of Lacan. By tap- inal intervention and its effect s on antici-Painting difference Modern Life: Paris in the Art ping into these diverse bodies of theory, pated audiences. Mostlar entertainment and commercial or casu- seeking models of feminist discourse.

It is provocative here is Pollock’s allusion to the al sexual exchange brothels, bars, cafes, worth noting, however, that even in the means by which viewers come to identify backstage –spaces largely closed to polkock essays some of the assumptions with gendered subjectivity as it is pro- women of Cassatt and Morisot’s station.

First, in ularly with respect to subjectivity includ- these spaces “modern” male artists used films] of constantly binding us into a par- ing the authors’ own and the role of the ticular-but always unstable-regime of women’s bodies to do battle with mascu- spectator in the production of meaning. Griselfa, although century art griseldaa art history.

Although the Cassatt and Morisot on occasion painted goes about resisting such binding or inter- foci of the essays vary, in the first, pellation. The problems here are mostthe female nude, they more often repre- “Feminist Interventions in the Histories apparent from a postmodern perspective,sented women in private or domestic of Art,” Pollock spells out her overriding one in which the spectator is no longer spaces a dining and drawing rooms, bed- concern: She rejects the refusing the subject positions offered.

The central fig- socially determined. Paintings by women do?: Pollock’s concern here is not with what? Yet, the examples liiiiiij: Pollock argues that they struc- ; In her embrace of psychoana- tured their paintings of women in such a lytic theories, however, Pollock limits her way as to subvert masculinist practices of exploration of the unsaid to the putative pleasurable looking. The problem is that fears and fantasies of the unconscious, Pollock’s discussion of the gaze lacks a positing Venus Fig.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, essential truths about psychosexu- coherent theory of the relationship Verticordiaoilalon canvas, anxieties of Rossetti’s age based on The figure in Cassatt’s At widely contested by feminists in fields the Opera might well be “the sub- ranging from art history and film criticism ject of her own look,” but this does not examined as a symptomatic site for the to clinical psychology.

Despite her insis- necessarily prevent the viewer from scruti- study of this emergent regime of represen- tence that feminist projects should break nizing and objectifying her. Pollcok remote gazes the universalizing theories of psychoanaly- Raphaelite Literature: The Representa- of Rossetti’s women iconic, “unseeing” sis fixes meaning.


This seems a artist into Rossetti’s “muse” and “model. Relying on classic within its own history in order to under- ing the privileged status for Rossetti in and Freudian castration and fetish theories stand the nature of its original intervention through such polarizing formulations as along with Lacanian theories of desire andand its effect s on anticipated audiences.

Psychoanalytic castration, typically embodied by the out intruding in the process and, thus, to Readings,” looks at Woman as visible sign femme fatale. Invoking Mulvey’s work on record an objective and truthful account of of difference in Rossetti’s art. Essay five, contemporary art and Hollywood cinema what his work really signified to the male “A Photo-essay: Signs of Femininity,” pro- discussed belowshe casts as fetish the viewer women are not diffdrence here.

Here, fragmented figure, schematized face, and In the end, however, all Pollock provides is Pollock introduces psychoanalytic theories blank look of the Venus, asserting that her own symptomatic reading, adding one in order to uncover not the private obses- they operate not on the manifest level diffwrence more layer to a dense series of interpreta- triselda of the individual artist but the social- on a displaced level of signification as a tions-subjective and ideological, as all ly determined psychic formations within substitute for what appears lacking on the historical writing must be.

This economy of vision is Visino it comes to the art of Rossetti or of vision and a new regime of visual repre- characterized as “fetishistic scopophilia,” Cassatt and Morisot, for that mattersentation naturalizing Woman as an image in which a compensatory pleasure is Pollock is dealing with examples of visual beautiful to contemplate. Repetitious derived by looking at a beautified object culture still circulating-long after their images of women’s faces by Rossetti are that oscillates between the forever threat- production and initial consumption.

Mulvey’s race, gender, sexual orientation, and age as raises the issue of reception, is an impor- early work is remarkable in its handling of well as other terms of grisleda upon the tant addition to feminist thought. Given its precocity, relative familiarity with competing systems for feminist interventions while obscuring certain aspects of her work were criticized of knowledge.

Pollock’s impulse to fix pressing questions about the agency of the in the debates to which it gave rise, in par- meaning depends on a notion of universal spectator in the production of meaning ticular her inattentiveness to differences structures of perception that cannot be and, thus, obscuring an important avenue pollofk spectators in terms of sexual identi- reconciled with the concerns of postmod- to resistance.

Her attempts to address some of the ern feminism. The implication is that all problems inherent in the early work are viewers will construe the same meaning, aura Mulvey’s Visual and Otherpresented at the beginning of the second or that her own interpretations will be uni- Pleasures contains work on psycho-section, Melodrama.

Here, in versally embraced on the presumption that analysis and representation that influenced”Afterthoughts on ‘Visual Pleasure she has uncovered some essential truth Narrative Cinema’ Inspired by Ki Pollock in her later essays and continues to based on the authority of Freud and inspire many scholars turning to feministVidor’s Duel in the Sun”Mul Lacan. Even viewers sympathetic to femi-film criticism and theory for discursiveacknowledges that, by arguing for the m nist appropriations of psychoanalytic theo- models.

Mulvey’s book consists of 15 culinization of the spectator’s posit ry might well doubt the universal appeal ofessays relatively short compared to regardless of the sex of the moviegoer, her readings and find themselves alienatedPollock’s but just as wide-ranging in focus begged the question of actual women by the rhetorical strategies that foreclosegrouped in five sections.

The first, the audience. Now she addresses the debate.

Vision and Difference Femininity, Feminism and Histories of Art

Iconoclasm, takes us back to the earlyfemale spectator in “transvestite clothes,” Paradoxically, these strategies are most s and Mulvey’s embrace of psychoan-the woman who enjoys identification with evident in her latest essay, “Screening thealytic theory as a means to expose pleasur-Hollywood’s male protagonists and the Seventies: Sexuality and Representationable forms of representation oppressive to control over the fictive world this seems to in Feminist Practice-a Brechtian women.

The essays in this section docu- afford. For this kind of spectator, Mulvey Perspective. Freud is invoked on femi- of difference as they pertain to reception Spectacle Is Vulnerable: Miss World, ninity, which he maintained emerges out and thus, one might infer, to the ” produc-to the male psyche of which, sheof a childhood period seen as masculine tion of multiple and competing meanings. Moreover, he defined femininity as passive a Brechtian “political modernism,” in opposition to the active masculine.

A discussion of melodrama fantasies. This includes narcissis- protagonist in melodrama who resists a realist forms of representation, as is assert- tic pleasure, whereby the spectator identi- stable sexual identity, oscillating as ed on page ? What of viewers who fies with male protagonists as perfect and female spectators are said to do between have no knowledge of the critical debates omnipotent ego ideals, figures who articu- passive femininity that leads to integra- surrounding narrative and realism?

Again, where this leaves lesbians would they come to Pollock’s reading voyeuristic pleasure, in which female starsin the audience is unclear. In “Notes on [Douglas] Sirk and In many North American circles Approaching spectatorship through the Melodrama”Mulvey argues that Griselda Pollock’s work has been hailed as eyes of the dominant culture, she main- the film All That Heaven Allows repre- the corrective to liberal feminism’s inno- tains that Woman on display is double- sents a subversive strain in melodrama, cence of ideology and to the biological edged, held to signify castration anxiety particularly in its refusal to resolve the essentialism characteristic of radical femi- even as She is the source of pleasure.


She dilemmas oppressing its female protago- nist art history, both of which dominated does not discuss lesbian spectatorship or nist a middle-class woman with two col- the field through the s. Transgressing sexual and class speaker for the Women’s Caucus for Art interpretative purposes. Lovers of Hollywood cinema will find the loneliness and repression represented 0 This content downloaded from Can Mulvey’s reading is compelling on many radical politics inform art without compro- levels, one could argue that the film func- mising aesthetic concerns?

In a tional role in the family, given that Cary reprint of the catalogue essay for a cannot find a completely satisfying resolu- Kahlo-Modotti exhibition, Mulvey and tion outside that institution.

I imagine the answer contingent aspects of artists’ work [their review of Barbara Kruger’s exhibit, to that question depends ultimately on the own conditions of existence, class, sex, his- ‘”We Won’t Play Nature to Your Culture,”4 spectator Mulvey? In insisting were grounded in a theory that questioned ly as the site of class, race, and genderthat the personal is political, they place the established aesthetic of transparency oppressions.

In Outside the Home” draws an analo-much feminist writing of the s and their embrace of psychoanalytic theories gy between melodrama’s language of signsearly s. They also claim the artists’ as well as feminist politics, these artists and the language of the unconscious. In their formal characteristics of the melodramatic implication being that Kahlo and Modotti quest for something other than a negation style gesture and a body language derived can rightfully take their places in art histo- of conventional aesthetics, they structured from silent movies with a crisis of expres-ry’s canon.

Of concern here is the asser- their work in terms of mystery or enigma, sion “in which language is either inappro-tion that “[Kahlo’s] art forms a material inviting personal reverie and detours of priate or inadequate to the emotional bur- manifestation of her interior experiences,” the imagination as a means to understand- den of the subject matter,” in this instancethat it gives “concrete form” to her private ing.

For example, Burgin’s Hotel Latone, woman, the family, and andd within the world. Although highly suggestive, the argu- but they suggest that they themselves were through images of classic fetishistic objects ments difgerence are relatively underdeveloped able to negotiate their way around such high heels ; Fig.

With Modotti they behind him in mid-stride, and text “In to melodrama or to a language of theeven assert that certain images speak for December everything is frozen, petrified body. Postmodern theo- pretation, which operates on the assump- Sexuality” cowritten with Colin ry, however, suggests that works of art do tion that meaning must be derived on the MacCabeMulvey asserts that it has been not perform their operations autonomous- level of consciousness where objects, all but impossible to use images of women ly.

They “speak” only when addressed by images, and words are stableis replaced in a critique of gender and class relations viewers, each of whom wrests meaning by a mode of reception that allows view- in consumer capitalism and the cultural subjectively in and through interpretation.

As a Garde, Mulvey traces the development of Time: Pollock also discusses cerned with moving beyond negational Mulvey to argue that the pre-Oedipal is Corpus in “Screening the Seventies. She invokes some earlier displacements, Kristeva’s rhythmic and Woman had little to do with women’s lived works Penthesilia, a film made with Peter pulsional pressures. The notion of a new experiences much more to do with mas- Wollen, and “Visual Pleasure” as exam- language fostered by exploration of the culine pleasure.

Moreover, such work ples of feminism’s entrapment in a dia- feminine unconscious-the gendering of was premised on the “notoriously difficult” logue with patriarchy on patriarchy’s the unconscious here at odds with psychoanalytic theories of Freud and terms. Negational approaches, she claims, Lacanian notions of presymbolic bisexua Lacan, making meaningful encounters have played an important role in the con- ty-is still tied to the polarizing model with it difficult for the uninitiated.

Kelly’s tinuing search for a pollick language, an binarism. Moreover, it would seem t Corpuswrites Mulvey, represents the alternative symbolic in which the phallic require men to come to spectatorship i felicitous union between difficult theory, no longer operates as a term of difference.

Beyond th they are “immediate. Havin women’s still unspeakable desires and symbolic is pollick equivalent to that of men. The Here Mulvey “genders” the unconscious in the mids, when she attempt project is grounded griselsa material and histori- and suggests that the female version pro- through film to shift the narrative perspe cal reality as experienced in time by vides the potential for a new signifying tive from son to mother, Mulvey return women especially in terms of sexuality space through what as yet can only be in and to the story’s origin and emotion and in “the invisible viion inarticulate rejection of patriarchal law.