Suddenly, Feminique Mystique

10May10

Meet Your Feminique Mystique. The Sit-Arounds, The Hystericals, The Conjurors, The Teasers, The Milkers, The Androgyne Fruits, The Dissolvers, The Absorbers, The Voyeurs, The Duality Erasers and The Procurer of Animals, Meat and Bodies.

True Story: I learned almost everything about the human body anyone could ever want to know, as a child, every morning as our 4 person family, naked and sqwooshed, prepared for the day sharing 4 foot square space of 1970’s faux white marble patterned linoleum clad Chambre du Bain. Its octagonal, bubble glass shower cabinet, white shag carpet and steam and powder and perfume and crackly radio pop songs were the stage for my father ruling the roost and his bustling (literally) 3 person-feminique family harem behind the newspaper on the throne. 1970’s Bathroom as classroom. Closeness is Hostess to The Mostess.

Even though there were 2 other bathrooms in the house, where everyone was welcome to do their thing, in private and scheduled intervals, my father, mother and sister and I naked and incomprehensively and happily chose to share that one small space set to hyperspeed, no holds barred and everything bared.

No wonder I covet my solitary bath ritual today carefully tending to candles, running the perfect water temperature and whispering the mantra my Father endlessly repeated to my excitable Aries self from childhood thru teens…” slow down, slow down, slow down…”

Quirky, messy and tousled family covens and rituals can be the source of extreme disfunction or catapulting, emphatic myths made into new maps. I am happily seeing men and women choosing and living by Old/New Feminique qualities such as close families, shared “covens,” womanly energy of close confidents, secret societies, rituals, cycles and becoming their own oracles, seers and muses and enjoying the reward of tight and tough friendships and the Earth Mysteries alike. Photographer, Michael Buhler-Rose’s boudoir photo above, at Humble Arts, captures for me this new shared feminine vibe and literally, how much more pleasant things can be for everyone beyond bra burning. (we like bras)

Women’s Liberation and Crunchy Goddess-y Proclamations aside…here are some suddenly feminine mystique archetypes appearing as artists, corporations, designers, thinkers and doers, friends and oracles conjure a siren song to both males and females to play with their own brand of Feminique Mystique. Meet The Sit-Arounds, The Hystericals, The Conjurors, The Teasers, The Milkers, The Androgyne Fruits, The Dissolvers, The Absorbers, The Voyeurs, The Duality Erasers and The Procurer of Animals, Meat and Bodies.

ONE: The Slow Down Slow Down Slow Down Sit Down Sit Down Sit Down Sit-Arounds.

Women Know How To Wait. Slowed down and Listening is very Feminine Mystique. There is nothing as slowed down as artist oracle Marina Abramovic in her Museum of Modern Art ritual in New York City until the end of May 2010.

Pre-Marina True Story: Many moons ago, when I was part of the central hub of a yoga community, we catapulted a certain shy, bespeckled chanting singer by the name of Krishna Das, from a small New York State ashram with audiences of about 20 to the start of his world-touring reputation of Kirtan God with top billing. Krishna Das earned his Hindu stripes hanging in India with Ram Dass and the famous crew of Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg sitting and seeking enlightenment at the feet of my own Guru, Maharaji. (They also tried to feed him LSD, but that’s a story for another day)

There is a snippet in one of Krishna Das’s songs of Indian holy men chanting and I always thought they were saying “Sit Around, Sit Around, Sit Around.” Actually they were chanting “Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram,”the earthly names of Krishna and his consort, The Goddess, Lalita.  Whatever they were saying, as an International Director of Marketing for a music company juggling five countries, ten staff people and a challenging personal relationship, just sitting around chanting and meditating definitely helped my stressed feminine mystique.

Marina Abramovic sits around, sits around. The exhibition at MOMA is entitled, “The Artist is Present” and I love that it is a Woman who is making perhaps one of the most powerful creative statements I have ever seen in The Hallowed Halls of Art. Earnestness. Meditation as a sport, Marina is sitting for 8 hours a day, inviting anyone to sit opposite her in silence, reverence and EverythingNothingness. First time I saw meditators under klieg lights surrounded by spectators as if it was a boxing match. The simplicity  and seeming lack of stimulus brings up emotions just like sitting to meditate. A table between 2 people. Red dress. Forced scenarios.

Tiny stories from her abusive childhood typed out on writing paper are like the universal psychic circus paraded out sacrificially for us from a Slowed Down, Sit Around Gal.  On my third visit the table is removed and Marina sits in a white dress. A friend who has seen Marina five times, says at the end of a day, when all the crowds dispersed, he watched as she bowed her head and tears flowed endlessly from her eyes. Slowing Down, Sitting Down, in the middle of New York’s cacophonous jungle to the noisy Nepal village sprung up around Buddha Boy, sitting for months in meditation, modern Buddhas Are Us… sitting and dreaming us.

Marina’s dream spreads around her in the Museum, with powerful imagery, films, performances and encounters. You cannot miss the Enlightenment.

TWO: The Hystericals.

True Story: He screamed a diatribe of expletives at the top of his lungs right into my face as I stepped out of the subway car unto the platform and I woke up the next day, my 50th birthday,with a 90 degree hot lava feeling in my throat and a pounding head+ body. As softly meditative I can be at times, the 7 ft tall, obviously mentally disturbed man’s surprise verbal attack into my face easily prompted a screamed back expletive and he dutifully responded same as the subway doors closed on him. As I came up to the street, my nerves instantly calmed as I recalled Marina’s work at Moma, that I had just seen with a friend. Screaming heads, recipricol slapping, mouth to mouth breathing and shamanic endurance tests were the portals to body-less and buddah-full more states of being…the stuff of high art for Marina.

Speaking of working out self loathing out loud, men too, are not exempt.  If you are loathing you better shout it out. Toxic bodies exist because of toxic minds. A woman’s anger, in the form of earthquakes, tidal waves, tornados and volcanic eruptions are in full force these days forcing us to birth from anger to love. Get thee to a treadmill, a drumming circle with other men in headbands, play squash or crab soccer or wail kirtan, but please, Mad Men and Mad Women, would you stop holding it in and taking it out on the rest of humanity?

THREE: The Conjurors.

Conjuring the snake. The tempter of transitions, the force and power of creative energy, Kundalini coiled in potential and ready to strike….in a business meeting or that sacred Hindu chakra hot spot. If you don’t know, ask somebody.

The horned one is the man shaman crowning himself with creative powers. Coiled rising snakes and animal horns represent the horns of cows and certainly the fallopian tubes surrounding a womb. Georgia O’Keefe saw it. Celtic stoneworkers lived it. The symbol of Jesus on a cross or Marina’s woman on a bicycle seat on a lit wall in the MOMA or us embracing our lives or a friend with outstretched arms, live it. This is the heart extended.

Luminosity (a must see piece and video) is a Marina performance piece where a woman or man is perched five feet off the ground for 700 hours as a Christ-like sacrifical body on a bicycle seat. Conjuring correctly does require sacrifice, strength and vulnerability. Knowing this is halfway there.

FOUR: The Teasers.

The 48 Laws of Power cites endlessly how people are captivated by what they think they are missing. If we ALL seek Love, The Groove and the Tease is in the Delight of the eternally unseen Heart, although it might just show up first as exposed body parts.

Censored images of women in film from days gone by seem silly but no less provocative. Knowing when to hold back and when to let it go is the tease that both men and women are cultivating. The Play is the Thing.

FIVE: The Milkers.

True Story: My mother swung between being a Saturday night 70’s glamourous Halloween party hostess in her swirling, blue and green chiffon and satin Age of Aquarious gown, White Russian cocktail in hand, among a household of groovy guests to a Sunday morning-after common laborer look with baggy grungy shorts, thick copper metal cateye bifocals, water spritz bottle and ironing board tackling the huge pile of wrinkled clothes while watching old movies on the television set under the watchful gaze of this Women’s Lib era poster she emphatically hung on our Laundry room door one day.

The female body is a machine. The word for Mother, Mater, becomes Material, the sweat, hair, nails, plants, steam. A laborious economy of drapery and flesh folds endlessly mopping up, washing fabric, negotiating skirts and emotions.

A co-curated exhibition of artists from Tel-Aviv, by my friend Maia Morgensztern, entitled JaffaCakes TLV recently shown in London, featured artist Mika Rottenberg, whom I first saw at the 2008 Whitney Biennial with her “Still from Cheese.” Mika envisions the female body as a rag-tag primitive, a science fair contraption-machine dialouging with fleshy, folky, earthy body processes and modern beautifying rituals.  “These tropical devices exploit more than simply women’s labor, but also use of all that the body exfoliates, grows, and removes.” Coolhunting’s video on Mika’s own process is the evolution of peoples’ idea of “women’s art” beginning and ending with niceties such as Judy Chicago’s Dinner party, thank God.

Tapasya is a Sanscrit word meaning friction, repeated movement, generation of heat and energy. It applies to devotion in any form. On this Earthly plane of duality, we strive for balance beyond the 1,2 energy of computers, sex, repeated pleasures and the duality or our minds. Can this all this churning, friction and heat give rise to balance to catapult us beyond this plane or at the very least can we figure out how to live in balance here?

SIX: The Androgyne Fruit.

Love the drag queens, Bowie, Klaus Nomie, Numero hotties and the gang at Vlada’s but the girls really do androgyne better. It’s uncomical, where identity is neither gender or its definitions or poses, because feminine mystique looks better petite.

This is mastery, what we all hold within and must ultimately express. Outward cues are cute, inward core is more. In fact, the taste of this feeling is like the best fruit. For sure, it was Eve who plucked the fleshy, delicious fruit of fun first and shared it with man. No blame kids, taste of this plucky fruit is directly osmosis with the cosmos!  We are surrounded by the androdynous and it is a delicious list from Priscilla of The Desert, Amanda Lepore’s pout, Hillary Swank, to even Tyler Perry to Catherine Opie at Gladstone Gallery‘s beautiful boy-girl black and white photographs.

 

 

SEVEN: The Dissolvers.

No Body Does Dissolution Better than a Babe. Girls are change itself. Through the cycles of Life’s Movie running every month to Closets of personas, pain and pleasure, the feminine mystique can destroy a story, puzzle it back together anew minute to minute and lifetime to lifetime.

 

True Story. The night before my Father died, I had a dream that the contents of our entire house growing up were floating in a flood that took up the whole lower underground part of the house.  The night he died, that flood of emotions created a dream where my car went to the end of a dead end street blocked by a huge moving truck. I got out to meet a wealthy man who pointed to a pyramid of steps going up and then down, covered in sand.  Each one had a central circle footprint with a red figure eight in it. These were made he said to protect from the taunts of children. He held a cat in his arms and said, “She was a kitten before and now she is a relaxed cat.”

The phone rang and awoke me from this dream with a voice telling me of his entrance to the hospital where he would pass the next morning. After my father died I couldn’t meditate or do yoga. His childhood mantra to me of “Slow down, slow down, slow down,” was not to be found through typical spiritual practice, but a step by step approach to life.

I grew up as an Art Groupie to Duchamp’s readymades and his Nude Descending a Staircase in The Philadephia Museum of Art. I recently saw Jack Robinson’s SCANNOGRAMS at my friend Sebastien’s New York Gallery Nine 5, where a body meets scanner repeatedly until the parts make up a new whole. Much like Marina Abramowitz metaphorically repeatedly slamming herself into a wall, the feminine cyclical way of ritually tearing apart and building up again can be a sooth to the soul knowing and respecting the process.

Stairs and a step by step process are logical answers to dissolution, death and transition. No one does this better than a woman or man who knows how to retreat, re-piece and re-invent themselves as a salve to the natural cycle of destruction and creation.

 

 

 

EIGHT: The Absorber, The Voyeur and The Duality Eraser.

No matter it is the Earth Itself or the female in a group, she is the weaver, the forager, the duality juggler. No wonder we can’t keep our eyes off of Her.

The artistic seer calls the shots in Kim In Sook‘s staged voyeurisms, Naama Tsabar‘s cloth,music and performance saturations blurring boundaries and the multi-Louboutin clad armies of Vanessa Beecroft.  On a more personal level, master symbolist Avia Venefica explains signs and symbols to hungry googlers awakened by a dream or a persistent sighting, her symbolic weavings on What’s Your Sign? are hugely popular, almost reaching the frenetic globally-growing cult that surrounds Susan Miller’s Astrology Zone. Pillars are in place in the Delphi Temple of TV and Media from Oprah’s explorations-in-feelings to Maureen Dowd‘s diatribes on the Church tribe to Michelle O, Martha S…maybe we can be rewoven in time.

Calling themselves, invisible heroes, male artists Ados and Comenius, played with the humble realness of Princess Diana, making art of her childhood eraser and their purchase of it at auction, a wry comment on a woman who was a foil to her Kingly husband’s transgressions. So many stalwart or silent women standing by their man and the public apology of men from all public spectrums lately. Honesty. Transparency. Just another good policy ala Mother Earth and strong woman vibes. Glad to see some men are trying it on for size.

 

NINE: The Procurer of Animals, Meat and Bodies.

It’s The Same Stuff Swimming Through Us.

Props to male artists seen recently, Botero at Marlborough Gallery and Mark Ryden at Paul Kasmin Gallery, they do know how to work their female. Botero places women with animals where they suddenly attain much more power aligned and Ryden’s wide-eyed, Fragonard style doll females cavorting with Lincoln, Jesus and cold-cuts make harsh critiques on societal concepts of freedom and gender roles, such as his “Incarnation” piece shown here.

In the 1959 movie, “Suddenly Last Summer,” Elizabeth Taylor, in a white see-through bathing suit as the attention-lure, procures for Sebastien, her closeted male cousin, the sexual favors of native boys who ultimately cause his destruction in a siren-worthy carnivorous clash of tinny instruments.  The age-old play of female allure which leads to a man’s downfall and freedom from his body is played yet again from ancient Gods like Set, Osiris,Dionysis,Odin and even girls like Echo, who were torn apart to find freedom through reincarnation just to underscore the point for all Earth plane-dwelling persons.  As Katherine Hepburn carefully tended to the carniverous Venus Fly-traps in Sebastian’s exotic garden, it’s clear we all have to find a way to play with our desires, beauty and creativity on the personal and grand scale of aligning and respectfully re-formulating a Planet and her feminine mystique itself, lest it destroy us first.

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4 Responses to “Suddenly, Feminique Mystique”

  1. 1 Avia

    You rock. Thanks for putting out a bowl of fresh milk from which to lap up philosophical goodness. And, for causing contemplative digestion to take place in energetic laboratories other than the mind.
    Yeti love.

    • YOU! are my idol! if…I …could…be…half… as prolific, nature touching, dreaming, conversing,strong and multi-syllabic as even your name…plotzing over that thought. LOVE!

  2. 3 Luccia

    gorgeous! so many images


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