Kelly discusses the relationship between desire, the male gaze, looking, and women in art. Vision is about desire and a majority of art is about vision. Women are, and have always been, looked at. But we are the gazers too, it is just not always documented. Women are often reduced to their body which is a site of sexuality. What is masculine and what is considered feminine is constantly shifting. And although she may focus too much on Freud and his Oedipus Complex theory, the key question she never really answers is how women can both be subject and object in art.
Deana Lawson’s photographs capture the family and community of the African-American people she meets. The subjects of the photos stare at you as much as you stare at them, questioning who is the gazer and gazee. Now if she wasn’t a member of the Black community, what would her photos imply?
In Emma Amos’s painting Yo Man Ray Yo (2000), two women gaze at each other. Even though one is painted as an image, she is brought to life by her expression. Amos’s painting is a reaction to Man Ray’s Noire et Blanche (1926), a photograph of Kiki Montparnasse looking at an African mask.
Out of all of Audrey Wollen’s photographs, the most interesting are the ones in which she documents herself at the doctor’s office. Photographing yourself in pain or in suffering when dealing with different disabilities usually seen as either embarrassing or something only discussed in private is radical.