Girls | Museum Unclassified 15+
A guided tour through art history as seen through the female gaze – and a savvy, subversive rejoinder to centuries of representation from the eyes of the male beholder.
In museums and galleries the world over, our collected works of art paint a picture of who we were, and who we are. Almost overwhelmingly, however, that picture has been created and curated by men; any women who feature are fetishised, idealised, contextualised or condemned by the male gaze. Seeking a counterpoint to this imbalance, New York–based visual artist Shelly Silver followed a group of girls and young women through Leipzig’s Museum of Fine Arts, capturing their unvarnished reactions to and interpretations of the art they encounter.
Aged between seven and 19, and hailing from a range of backgrounds, the girls offer responses that are intelligent, imaginative, insightful and funny. Unsurprisingly, gender and its depictions emerge as dominant themes, which Silver subtly reinforces with her clever documentation of what, and how, we observe these young women observing. Primarily relying on static shots and smartly juxtaposed montages, she has constructed an elegant and perceptive work of art herself, one that comments eloquently on the political and personal nature of the act of seeing.
“At once a social inquiry, a critical essay in art history and a poised, even sculptural study of people, paintings and space … Thought-provoking, engaging and visually striking.” – Screen Daily
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