A feminist painter and her feminist royal patron

It’s very trendy right now to ‘discover’ women artists. But how lost were they, really?
Mary Moser, c. 1770-71, George Romney, courtesy National Gallery
I’m in Edinburgh finishing a portrait this week. My subject bought me a copy of The Lady. This is one of Britain’s longest-running magazines. Founded in 1885, it was where the gentry advertised for domestic servants. Between the nanny ads and the horoscopes, there are some pieces of surprising interest, including a biography of 18th century painter Mary Moser.
Moser is best remembered for her decorative painting at Frogmore House, an English country house within the Home Park at Windsor. Started in 1680, it was largely renovated by Queen Charlotte, whom Americans know as the wife of King George III.
A Vase of Flowers, 1792-97, Mary Moser, Frogmore House, courtesy Royal Collection Trust
But the Queen was much more than that. Among other things, she was a champion of women artists and a keen amateur botanist who helped expand Kew Gardens. It was this interest in botany that led to her hiring Moser to decorate the South Pavilion at Frogmore House.
The house was more than a century old when Queen Charlotte purchased it in 1792. She used it as a retreat from nearby Windsor Castle, where she and her daughters could practice their hobbies of “painting, drawing, needlework, japanning, reading and ‘botanising’.” The Queen had borne 15 children (13 of whom lived to adulthood) and had a mentally-ill husband, so it’s perhaps understandable that she then built another retreat within the gardens of this retreat. That’s Frogmore Cottage, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex now live with their new baby.
Queen Charlotte, 1761, studio of Allan Ramsay
Moser was already well-regarded as a floral painter when she took up the commission at Frogmore House. She had been trained by her father, an enamellist and himself a drawing tutor to George III. She was one of 36 artists who joined together to form the Royal Academy of Arts. At the age of 24, she was the youngest Academician and one of just two women among the founders. The other was Angelica Kauffman.
Moser did not marry until later in life. By convention, a woman’s professional life ended upon marriage. “[P]erhaps there was no man worth giving it all up for,” suggested The Lady.
Moser carried on an affair with miniaturist Richard Cosway. He was well-known as a libertine, and “commonly described as resembling a monkey.” (His wife was, in turn, getting it on with Thomas Jefferson.) In his notebooks, Conway made lascivious comments and “invidious comparisons between her and Mrs Cosway,” implying that Moser was more sexually responsive than his wife. He died insane, just in case you’re wondering if there’s cosmic justice.
A Bunch of Flowers, 1792-97, Mary Moser, Frogmore House, courtesy Royal Collection Trust
Moser married at age 49. Bowing to social pressure, she retired and began exhibiting as an amateur under her married name. She’d made a pile of money as a painter; the Frogmore commission alone earned her £900, which is equivalent to £100,000 today. She left most of her wealth to women: relatives, friends, and the wives of other artists.
It’s very trendy right now to ‘discover’ women artists. But how lost were they in the first place? Artemisia Gentileschi, for example, may not have been a household name twenty years ago, but was well-known to students of the Baroque.
The problem wasn’t so much with their own times, but with the peculiar blinders of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Moser’s membership in the Royal Academy was circumscribed to some degree by her gender; she could not attend nude sketch sessions, for example, and some meetings were closed to her. But all in all, she had a happy and complete life as a painter.

Devastatingly resistible men and the stupid things they say

The sexualization of a young, competent competitor is a way to put that woman in her ‘proper’ place.
Athabasca Glacier, by Carol L. Douglas

“She’s great,” a woman told me about a young woman artist. “Excellent drafting, fantastic brushwork. But, actually, I think she has more ground to cover before she hits her full potential.” It was an admiring, supportive, incisive comment.

“Nice ass,” said one of her male peers.
The vast majority of the men I know in the art world are kind and decent fellows. But not all. (Sadly, the offenders are unlikely to read this blog.) Consider the artist who importunes a woman his daughter’s age for a date, while he has a long-standing partner at home. Or the pair who mutter suggestive comments about another artist to each other while sitting right next to an older lady. (As women of a certain age know, with wrinkles and grey hair comes a magic cloak of invisibility.)
Parker Dinghy, by Carol L. Douglas
When I was young, I put on a stiff face and ignored cat-calling. After all, women are trained to be polite. I wish I had said something instead. It wasn’t until my own daughters reached that age that I realized how corrosive it is. But, for some reason, young women generally don’t have the power to control the situation. “It’s not important,” they tell me, or “It happens everywhere. Might as well get used to it.”
I talked with another young woman artist yesterday. She’s changed her mind about it. “I’ve resolved to call them out,” she told me. I wish her well. More young women should do so.
Three Graces, by Carol L. Douglas. Courtesy Camden Falls Gallery.
The sexualization of a young, competent competitor is a way to put that woman in her ‘proper’ place. If a man objectifies her, he can ignore the fact that she can paint circles around him. The problem is his, not hers, but it’s still offensive and it coarsens the community.
“It’s a thin veneer of bravado painted over a thick layer of insecurity,” commented another woman artist, comparing that behavior to pack mentality. “These men are not going to take down an older woman, so they hunt the young one instead.”
In the old days of chaperones, a man couldn’t get past an older woman and her sharp stick to make lewd comments. A young woman had the weight of an alpha female on her side. We artists travel alone for the most part, putting us all outside our comfort zones. 
Lake Moraine, by Carol L. Douglas
I have some advice for the men who act like this: get over yourself. You’re not devastatingly irresistible. You’re not funny, either. You’d do your career far more good by shutting up and being a gentleman. That way, even though your painting is lousy, you’ll be remembered as a nice guy.
Young women: bear in mind that these old gaffers feel threatened by you. But don’t let them objectify you. Call them out.
Old men: that could be your daughter. Don’t let that kind of thing pass.
Old women: nobody expects a grandmother to have a sharp right hook.

The hardest working women in show business

To the ramparts, woman! The future of women artists rests in part with you!

My first event this spring is Santa Fe Plein Air Fiesta, so I’m getting into a New Mexico kind of mood. This pasture sketch is from my last trip there.
Last night I had a brief chat with my pal Mary Byrom. I want to go down to draw in Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH. Strawbery Banke is unlike other living history museums in that it is a real neighborhood of real houses, restored where they originally stood. It dates back to 1630, when Captain Walter Neale chose the area to build a settlement. It was saved from the wrecking ball of 1950s urban renewal by historic preservationists and opened as a museum in 1965. It has unadorned simplicity and solid shapes that make you itch to draw.
Mary lives and works in southern Maine, so Portsmouth is her stomping ground. She recently did some delightful pen-and-wash sketches of Strawbery Banke. When she put them on Facebook, I asked her if she’d be game to join me. “I have to wait for this foot to heal,” I said.
Last night she texted to see how I was doing. I’m off to Damariscotta this morning to have the stitches removed and the foot released from its bandages. As of now I can’t do any significant walking. I don’t know what the doctor is going to tell me, or whether I’m going to have the other foot operated on immediately. It’s frustrating to watch my friend doing such lovely work from the vantage point of my couch. I’m heartily sick of my couch.
The Rio Grande in New Mexico, by Carol L. Douglas
Mary told me she’s teaching three classes right now. I whistled in admiration. The last time I did that was in 2008. I was ten years younger then.
That doesn’t sound so hard, but it is really a lot of work for the solo practitioner, who must advertise, prep, teach and clean up on her own. Every hour spent teaching means at least an hour of preparation.
Meanwhile, Mary’s been out doing small pen-and-wash sketches all winter. They grow steadily more wonderful. All of which points out an essential principle of painting: if you want to improve, you have to keep doing it. That’s true for beginners and it’s equally true for old pros like Mary.
Study at Ghost Ranch, by Carol L. Douglas
Bobbi Heath and Poppy Balser are two other women artists I’m tight with. I know something about their day-to-day life. Neither of them is resting on their laurels, either. Both juggle the day-to-day business of an art career with the day-to-day business of living, while simultaneously driving themselves to improve and broaden their skills.
I’ve written hereherehereherehere (and probably elsewhere as well) about the fabulous misogyny of the art world. If that ship is righted—and it will be—it will be because women artists like Mary, Poppy, and Bobbi have worked so long and so hard to produce work. Their tireless efforts will open the door for younger women artists to be taken seriously right out of the gate.
Around the Bend, by Carol L. Douglas. New Mexico is surprisingly green in April.
Meanwhile, I’m trapped on the couch with a damn dicky foot. I realize it’s only been two weeks, but it feels like an eternity since I last had a brush in my hand. To the ramparts, Carol! The future rests with you!
It’s about time for you to consider your summer workshop plans. Join me on the American Eagle, at Acadia National Park, at Rye Art Center, or at Genesee Valley this summer.

Young dealers, more women

Is the gender gap in the art world closing? Not so you’d notice, but here’s a nugget of good news.

Couple, Carol L. Douglas

I’ve written many times about gender issues in the art world.* I grew up at a time when there were no great women artist models. Historical figures like Artemisia Gentileschi had been expunged from the record. Abstract-Expressionism, which reigned supreme in the post-war era, was almost wholly a bad-boy phenomenon. I’m still waiting to see the inequality addressed. I’ll probably die waiting.

If you can stand the dissing of ‘white straight males,’ a recent essay in Artsy has a small bit of good news buried in it: young galleries are more likely to be run by women, and women-run galleries are slightly more likely to show work by women artists.
The Joker, Carol L. Douglas
Their sample is narrow: the 200 or so galleries that showed at Art Baselin Miami Beach. Their graphing makes one wonder if they passed the sixth grade, although it looks very pretty. 
Among galleries under ten years old represented at Miami, almost half were run by women. Younger galleries and women gallerists are slightly better at selling work than their male counterparts. Younger male-run galleries had 32% female artists, compared with just 23% at galleries more than 20 years old. The younger female-run galleries had 41% female artists; at the older female-run galleries, the share of female artists was 28%.
Moreover, there was better representation for women in North American galleries (36% to 64%) than in supposedly-enlightened Europe (30%-70%), and there were proportionally more American women dealers than European women dealers.
The Laborer Resting, Carol L. Douglas
But even there, the differences are minor; male dealers at the high-end of the market outnumber women dealers 3 to 1. At the top end of the market, the money is overwhelmingly male. “When you get to the $10 million, $20 million levels, that’s where the disparity comes…when that amount of money is at stake, politics go out the window,” said London dealer Pilar Corrias.
Another industry that’s famous for mouthing feminist platitudes but practicing gender bias is Hollywood. According to the Los Angeles Times, only 1.9% of directors of the top-grossing 100 films of 2013 and 2014 were women. “Of 25 Paramount Pictures films that have been announced through 2018, not a single one has a women director attached, in a tally first noted by The Wrap. The same is true of the 22 Twentieth Century Fox films that have been announced…”
Saran Wrap Cynic, by Carol L. Douglas
And then there’s Congress, where only 19% of lawmakers are female, a percentage that didn’t change much in the last election.
The biggest news story of 2017 has been #metoo. One thing it ought to tell us is that where there’s huge gender disparity, there’s also sex abuse. Where there’s endless sexualization of women’s images, there’s also abuse, and the art world for the last two hundred years has been littered with insipid, pulchritudinous images of women.
The 19th and 20th century art scenes were famous for abusive, egotistical male ‘geniuses.’ As Germaine Greer said about the Pre-Raphaelites, “If they hadn’t had sex with their models, they wanted you to think they had.”

* Here, here, here, here, here, and probably elsewhere as well.

We Help Grandma

A children’s book I used to love now just ticks me off.

The Country Bunny’s children were remarkably adept at household chores.

Long before I had a family of my own, I loved The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. This 1939 children’s classic, written by DuBose Heyward and illustrated by Marjorie Flack, is now regarded as a feminist and anti-racist statement. I was a child before either of these were a concept, however. I’m sure I just liked the pictures.

The book tells the story of Cottontail, who is a small, fast brown rabbit who aspires to be an Easter Bunny. She applies, only to be scorned by the elite big white Easter bunnies, who tell her to “go back to the country and eat a carrot.”
One of my helpers, vacuuming.
She goes home and, “by and by she had a husband and then one day, much to her surprise there were twenty-one Cottontail babies to take care of.” (Her husband is noticeably absent in the baby bunnies’ lives.)
She teaches them to do all the gardening and housework, thereby freeing herself to pursue the brass ring of Easter Bunny-dom once more. Then, she goes back to the big city where she surprises Grandfather with her speed, gained by mothering. She aces the test and becomes one of the greatest Easter Bunnies of all time.
We Help Mommy featured kids working with their mother. It was much more realistic.
It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I realized how dismissive this book is of the work of mothering. It perpetuates the lie of my youth, that women can have it all. We can choose anything, but—like all mortals—are limited by time and energy.
Any mother can tell you that it’s more difficult to teach a kid to do chores than to do them yourself. Still, kids can do tasks and they can be managed. What they can’t do is run their lives unsupervised. Raising good children requires a high level of skill and talent, but also a lot of hard work.
More realistic were We Help Mommy and We Help Daddy, illustrated by Rochester, NY’s own Eloise Wilkin. First published in 1959 and 1962 respectively, they feature little Bobby and Martha helping their parents with various household chores. Kids love to help, but as Wilkin’s books make clear, they’re not able to do jobs without help.
Little Bobby and Martha also had a daddy, and he too was engaged in his kids’ life.
This was the Golden Age of Little Golden Books, and Wilkin was their queen. Born in Rochester, she moved to New York City as a child, returning to attend the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology). In 1944, she signed a contract to produce three Golden Books per year. She illustrated 47 of these books over her long career.
I have two little helpers here this week. They’re my grandchildren. They’re reducing my productivity to zero, but I don’t mind. I’ve had a busy summer and this is my reward.
Parents (and grandparents) know that we give chores to babies not to clear our schedules, but to keep the kids busy while we do the dishes ourselves. Chores never hurt anyone, but it’s ridiculous to think that kids could manage a household themselves. Feminist and anti-racist the Country Bunny might be, but I’m never buying a copy for any grandchild of mine.

Speaking up

Being small has its disadvantages.

Being small has its disadvantages.
Yesterday I wrote about a survey confirming the gender gap in the art world. (Women in the arts earn 68¢ for every dollar earned by men.)  That sparked a lively conversation, which I’m sharing with you more or less verbatim:
“It’s interesting when there’s a group of painters set up and you notice passersby only going to engage the male painters, or they ask if he’s teaching a workshop.”
“I was asked to join a co-op. When I showed up, they were surprised; they thought I was a man. Last week Steve was helping me bring my work in and someone asked if I was helping him.”
“I was set up during International Paint-Out Day at Otter Cliffs about six feet from a man who was outfitted in his painter’s vest, high leather boots with his pants tucked in, and a big brimmed safari hat. I saw many vacationers strolling around the rocks, but most of them would just go and look at the guys’ easels. One couple just kind of walked around until they saw where we were standing and walked all the way from the shoreline up to his easel, and bought the painting. It was his first time out, and he was new at painting, but he looked the part and that’s all it took.”
I've taken to carrying a riding crop so that passers-by will know I'm the teacher. Just kidding.

I’ve taken to carrying a riding crop so that passers-by will know I’m the teacher. Just kidding.
“That’s one of the reasons why I sign my paintings with only my last name. It doesn’t indicate my gender.”
“An artist friend painted a very large oil. She walked into the gallery as the sale of said painting was going on. The man buying it was introduced to her, and exclaimed, ‘A little girl like you painted this?’ And walked out of the gallery.”
“I won the top prize at a plein air event. My work sold adequately; about the same as it would have in a gallery. A few paintings later, the auctioneer was trying to gin up business, and said, ‘c’mon guys, So-and-So is a professionalartist.’”
“Back when I used to do a pretty full schedule of summer shows, I cannot tell you how often people assumed ‘JC’ was my husband. He’s tall; I’m small—bigger presence. It used to irk me that once he redirected them to me, they were always so surprised.”
“On too many occasions I’ve had to defend my right to use my initials as my business name and signature, always to male artists. At least one told me flat out that if I was truly proud of who I was and my work, I wouldn’t have to hide behind my initials.”
One of the best posses I ever rode with was this group of women at Adirondack Plein Air. From left, Mira Fink, Crista Pisano, me, Marlene Wiedenbaum, Laura Bianco, Kari Ganoung Ruiz and Tarryl Gabel.

One of the best posses I ever rode with was this group of women at Adirondack Plein Air. From left, Mira Fink, Crista Pisano, me, Marlene Wiedenbaum, Laura Bianco, Kari Ganoung Ruiz and Tarryl Gabel.
I’m going to add one more story of my own, about a gallerist who refused to even talk to a friend about representation, averring that “women can’t paint.”
Yesterday, Sue Baines, owner of The Kelpie Gallery, commented, “I think across the board, we need to be retrained, from female artists who apologetically price their work for less, to the art buyer/collector who undervalues a female artist’s work.”
How do we do that?

A tale of two pretties

“Bluewald,” 1989, by Cady Nolan, is the top-selling work by a living woman artist. It sold for $9.8 million at auction in Spring 2015. If you think that's a lot, compare it to $58.4 million for a Jeff Koons.

“Bluewald,” 1989, by Cady Nolan, is the top-selling work by a living woman artist. It sold for $9.8 million at auction in Spring 2015. If you think that’s a lot, compare it to $58.4 million for a Jeff Koons.
Artists are generally politically liberal. So why are they more backward than the rest of society in compensating women?
I’ve written about gender inequality in prices achieved by male and female artists. Now a large study confirms that the gender gap is alive and well for those holding art degrees. Women in the arts earn 68¢ for every dollar earned by men. That’s far worse than in the broader economy, where women can expect to earn 79¢ for every male-earned dollar.
The study used data from the 2011 Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), which included almost 34,000 respondents, all of whom held degrees in the arts. Of this group, about half were not working directly in the arts sector. A quarter were creators themselves. Roughly speaking, it isn’t having an art degree that kills you economically; it’s having an art degree and being female that’s deadly.
Working for a non-profit organization is almost as much of a liability as being female, it turns out. That will earn you a $17K drop in salary if you’re male or a $7K drop if you’re female.
“Mirror Room (Pumpkin),” 1991, by Yayoi Kusama. She tops the list for living women in terms of the aggregate value of her work sold at auction: nearly $216 million at the end of 2015.

“Mirror Room (Pumpkin),” 1991, by Yayoi Kusama. She tops the list for living women artists in terms of the aggregate value of her work sold at auction: nearly $216 million at the end of 2015.
And if you’re thinking it would be better in other places than in the troglodytic United States, think again. A similar survey in the UK found similar results.
Artsy did an excellent analysis of the data, here, and it’s worth weeping over.
One reason women’s salaries lag in every industry is that women are far less likely to negotiate job offers than their male peers. I know two young women who took the wages they were offered at their current professional jobs. The first is a programmer; the second is a gallerist. In the case of the programmer, her employer—a heartless, multinational defense contractor—has since worked to reduce the gap, since her boss wants to retain her. In the case of the gallerist, the initial insult was compounded by violations of labor law such as asking her to train on her own time.
Spare me the liberal pieties about social justice, my art-industry friends, until you are willing to promote, support and compensate women equally with their male peers. What I really want for Christmas is to never read news like this again.

Gender and creativity

Couple, 24X30, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas
Yesterday, I was reading a short essay by Maria Popova on the premise that psychological androgyny is a trait of highly creative individuals. What fascinated me were the quotes she chose from her source, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:  
… When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers…

Waiting, 24X36, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas
Psychological androgyny [refers] to a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities…
It was obvious that the women artists and scientists tended to be much more assertive, self-confident, and openly aggressive than women are generally brought up to be in our society. Perhaps the most noticeable evidence for the “femininity” of the men in the sample was their great preoccupation with their family and their sensitivity…
At my advanced age, I’ve had the opportunity to observe three generations of gender roles: my parents’, my own, and my kids’ generations. I have known a lot of people, and I don’t think that most of them operate within this caricature of behavior. The ones that do, inevitably seem miserable.
Masculinity, 16X20, oil on gessoboard, by Carol L. Douglas
Most successful artists I know live extremely conventional lives. That has nothing to do with conforming to or rebelling against culture, and everything to do with expediency. On the other hand, we’ve all met artistic poseurs who concentrating on outward social imagery rather than content (usually as rebels). They’re always failures.
If there’s a characteristic of the creative temperament, it’s that most creatives spend their time thinking about their work, rather than where they fit in their tribe.
Submission, 18X24, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas

Remember, you’ve got until December 31 to get an early-bird discount for next year’s Acadia workshop. Read all about it here, or download a brochure here

Opening tonight: Intersections of Form, Color, Time and Space

The Laborer Resting, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvas, 36X48, $3,750.
Several friends have sent me storiesabout Leena McCall’s oil painting of her friend, Portrait of Ms Ruby May Standing, being removed from a Society for Women Artists show in London because it was deemed to be pornographic. McCall painted her work in the flat style of mid-century English painters, and that’s the best part of the painting. She’s baiting a censorship that vanished decades ago. It’s her great luck (or planning) that she found someone—anyone—to object to it in this day and age.
The painting—although obvious—hardly dings my porn meter. I’m a born-again Christian who sometimes paints on the subject of women’s bondage. The only person who complains is my husband, who blocks them on his newsfeed so they don’t violate his employer’s policy.
The Joker, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvas, 30X40, $2,500.
My nudes, by the way, are on view at RIT-NTID’s Dyer Art Centerthis month. The show, Intersections of Form, Color, Time and Space, opens tonight, from 4-7 PM. I hope you’ll come out and say hello. RIT’s campus is lovely, and this would be a fantastic evening to be out there.
Unlike McCall, I’m taking an anti-pornographic stance. I’m painting about the abuse and objectification of women. You would think that a culture that aspires to complete equality for women would see less of this, not more, but these two trends have increased, not decreased, in my lifetime.
Submission, by Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvas, 24X20, $1,500.
I nursed all four of my kids and nobody ever tried to shame me about it. So I’m amazed at the stories my young friends tell about women being harassed for nursing in public. My friend Tim Vail pointed out that there are centuries of images of nursing mothers. “It seems like the more sexualized our culture gets, the more repression there is over what used to be completely normal.”
I’m afraid we’re living at the high-water mark of women’s rights worldwide. And that’s what I’m painting about. The more I paint, the less able I am to explain the material in words, so I hope you come out tonight to see them.
The Dyer Arts Center is in Lyndon Baines Johnson Building at Rochester Institute of Technology, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623Intersections of Form, Color, Time and Space, featuring abstract-expressionist Stu Chait and realist Carol Douglas, is in all three galleries during the month of July.

I’m leaving for Maine next week. Come join me! I have two openings left for my 2014 workshop in Belfast, ME. Information is available here.

High art, 2014-style

Submission, 24X20, by Carol L. Douglas. $1500.
We have two competing views of women here at the start of the 21st century. Neither is healthy: woman as casual sex object vs. woman in a burqa. I painted Submission, above, at the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War. Sadly it hasn’t gotten any better in the last eleven years.
Terry Richardson is an American fashion and portrait photographer whose clients and models include the glitterati of New York. He has repeatedly been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. “Is Terry Richardson an Artist or a Predator” tells us that he’s both. However, he’s also a product of our culture.
  
Richardson’s assistant, Alex Bolotow, has been photographed fellating her boss many times, starting in her very early twenties. “There was something exciting about being involved in something that feels just really freeing,” she said, “like, ‘Oh, I’m totally expressing myself, and this is great.’ I remember being like, ‘I’m just glad to be alive in a time when this is happening.’”
Artists and their models can be friends; sometimes they’re even lovers. But every artist-model relationship also involves an implied balance-of-power calculation. In the case of Richardson and his models, that varied depending on who was in front of the camera.
“Miley Cyrus wasn’t asked to grab a hard dick. H&M models weren’t asked to grab a hard dick. But these other girls, the 19-year-old girl from Whereverville, should be the one to say, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea’? These girls are told by agents how important he is, and then they show up and it’s a bait and switch. This guy and his friends are literally like, ‘Grab my boner.’ Is this girl going to say no? And go back to the village? That’s not a real choice. It’s a false choice,” said an agent (who chose to remain nameless).
Terry Richardson likes to photograph his models in the nude, by which I mean he is in the nude. Here he is with Kate Moss in a shot from Terryworld. Sadly, that’s as innocuous a photo as I could find.
Richardson is an amazingly messed-up guy. He was the child of a broken marriage. His father was schizophrenic and drug-addled; his mother was brain-damaged. He’s taken his trauma and driven it brilliantly through a culture surfeited with sex. It’s what the public clamors for: used copies of his books sell in the thousands of dollars.
Is repugnance at his working methods a sign that our attitude has changed toward casual or even coercive sex? Not at all. Terry Richardson is just the sacrificial lamb for a culture that is still wallowing. Anathematize him, and he’ll be replaced.

Yes, the burqa is abusive, but so too is our current western approach to sex and relationships.


I have three openings left for my 2014 workshop in Belfast, ME. Information is available 
here.