- See male gaze, female gaze
Following the comments of Lichanos on Icons of erotic art #21, here is some info about the concept of the gaze in visual culture.
The concept of gaze (often also called the gaze or, in French, le regard), in analysing visual culture, is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented. The concept of the gaze became popular with the rise of postmodern philosophy and social theory and was first discussed by 1960s French intellectuals, namely Michel Foucault‘s description of the medical gaze and Lacan‘s analysis of the gaze’s role in the mirror stage development of the human psyche. This concept is extended in the framework of feminist theory, where it can deal with how men look at women, how women look at themselves and other women, and the effects surrounding this. A key text regarding the male gaze is Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975) by Laura Mulvey. Outside of visual culture, the concept of the gaze is connected to voyeurism.
Iconic images that represent the gaze is Kiki staring close-up in the camera in Ballet Mécanique (1924, above) ; Un Regard oblique (1948) by Robert Doisneau () and Sophia Loren eyeing Jayne Mansfield’s décolleté (ca.1957/58), a photograph by Joe Shere ().
Walking Gun, 1991
Laurie Simmons (born 1949) is an American artist, known for such works as Walking Gun, 1991. Her recent work is explicit in nature (see ,  and ) and involves cut-out montages.
Tip of the hat to Lemateurdart
The illustration Artist and Model in the Studio by Albrecht Dürer, first published in The Painter’s Manual in 1525, is a woodcut that has been readily used to illustrate the dominance of the male gaze in Western visual culture, as well as the general consequences of mechanizing the relationship between the viewer and the viewed. In 1993 French photographic artist Dany Leriche appropriated Dürer’s original image as Hanneke et Elise , interpretable as a feminist-inspired rejection of the male gaze. The image is part of a diptych – the second part is a photograph of the model taken through the grid from the point of view of the observer.
Previous appropriations at Jahsonic included Balthus’s The Guitar Lesson  by Japanese photographer Naoto Kawahara in 2007 .
Tip of the hat to Lemateurdart.
Previous entries in Icons of Erotic Art here, and in a Wiki format here.
Le Cochon danseur (The Dancing Pig, 1907), Pathé
I recently asked Paul Rumsey if he could be persuaded to contribute to my ongoing World Cinema Classics series. Paul came up with more than I bargained for, pointing me to a dozen of his favorite films in an ongoing email conversation.
Included were French director Jacques Rivette‘s films Duelle and Noroit (Paul pointed to the similarities in Rivette’s and David Lynch’s work); the work of Czech stop-motion animation director Jiří Barta, the American film “Return to Oz“ (a nightmarish reinterpretation of the Oz story where at one point Dorothy (played by Fairuza Balk) is sent to a nightmarish Victorian mental institution, to be given electro-shock therapy ) and many more such as The Baby by Ted Post, etc….
I’ve finally settled to feature the short 1907 French film above, a film that clearly demonstrates the fairground antecedents that cinema has. Paul describes the film as “beginning almost erotic and ending almost sinister,” a fitting description of this silent film cult rarity. Paul got to see the film via the intriguing blog Hugo Strikes Back!.
I’ve mentioned a similarly exciting French animation here (scroll to the bottom for the Automatic Cleaning Company, a short about a room that cleans itself).