Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Freedom from Want: Kim Kardashian's Buttocks

by Drew Martin
I think I may have found the holy grail of peripheral art in the shiny and bountiful fruit of Kim Kardashian's bare buttocks as captured by Paper Magazine. My premise has always been to authenticate the mediated art experience. Which means, to redefine the first encounter of an original artwork in its reproduced form, and what it would mean to literally remove the "original" from the picture.

This of course is hardest to do with sculpture. How could you appreciate a massive work by confronting it only in words and pictures in the same way that you would feel its presence in person?

Kim's buttocks are a perfect example of such an experience because what you see in the photo does not actually exist in that state and that place. The photoshoot would have been much closer to theater in the flesh; a happening.

The image of her rear end is not about photography and the associated retouching anymore because it has claimed a sculptural space and everything about the image and composition is purely sculptural.

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art decided to join in the public conversation about the image, the it's-nothing-we-have-not-seen-before twitter response was not a fleshy Rubens painting or one of their own photographs but rather a bootylicious and timeless (6,500+ years old) fertility statue (pictured top right).

That being said, the best just-in-time-for-the-holidays parody was, however, a surreal painting mash-up, which serves Kim's juicy ass on a silver platter in place of an oven-roasted turkey in Norman Rockwell's 1942 classic Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture or I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

Freedom from Want, has a whole new meaning here. On one side, it is a fitting title for her body in terms of its bounty but is quite ironic in terms of the "want"/desire her buttocks create.

Happy Thanksgiving.