Notes on Seductive Subversion
- The West was united as a patriotic patriarchy: Male quest and male heroism in a militarized society had saved the day, allowing a democratic reconstitution of the West as a space friendly to the private peace of the gender-bipolar nuclear family, as against the earlier possibility of a society split by class war.
- Martha Rosler’s now-famous photomontages from the late 1960’s and &70’s have an intriguing connection to Pop Art.
- Rosler attacked sexualized references in advertising and enforced domestic labor. Women in with the Vacuum shows the eponymous woman in narrow hallway filled with Duchamp and Robert Indiana posters.
- Rosler states “Publication was not my primary aim. I resolutely refused to sign or date the works themselves, and it never occurred to me to take note of where or when they were seen. They were agitation flyers, of which so many were handed out throughout the history of demonstrating.”
Bringing the War Home
Honors Striped Burial
Rosler’s work displays how the Vietnam War was affecting American homes. It was the first war in American history to be displayed on television screens bringing the war to America’s living rooms. In this Image Bringing the War Home. Rosler splits the images of Vietnamese citizens being affected by the war with the image of an American housewife and her vacuum. This image displays how Americans were just carrying on with their lives and how the actions of the American government were affecting innocent lives in Southeast Asia. This image was used to bring awareness to the tranquil American homes to show how unnecessary this war was. By urging viewers to reconsider the "here" and "there" of the world picture, these activist photomontages reveal the extent to which a collective experience of war is shaped by media images. Vacation Gateway is another example of this same idea. It’s intriguing to me how these images bring two different perspectives together but works together so well that they communicate a clear message.
Red Striped Kitchen
The images Makeup/Hands Up and Playboy (on view) communicate a similar idea on the contradiction of female beauty standers compared to the images of the sufferers of the Vietnam War. We are so worried about women living up to certain beauty standards that we forget that there are women out there suffering much worse situations. How did our society get to this? To me its just human nature, we strive for the best and try to forget the worst. We don’t want to think about the bad reality about other humans. We rather look at humans that make us dream and feel positive about ourselves. These two images by Rosler are good examples that reveal her feminist side of her work. That we as a society worry too much about subjecting women to certain beauty standards when there is worse things going on.