Before my modeling gig at NYU on Thursday night, I journeyed over to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to visit my dear friend Daniel Maidman at his studio. And what a delightful visit it was! Daniel showed me his newest paintings which are marvelous, and we chatted for hours about the art community (and its limitless supply of gossip), our writing projects, and, of course, my romantic angst. Yes that’s how good a friend Daniel Maidman is. He’s willing to listen patiently to my hopeless moanings and ramblings about my current infatuation. Poor guy
But in the midst of all that, Daniel and I did compare notes about our writing and blogging, and he pointed something out to me that struck a chord. He observed that I haven’t written much on Museworthy lately about just being an art model – the day-to-day experience of it and detailed firsthand accounts of the job – in quite a while. I have, but only sporadically. Not nearly to the extent that I used to. Daniel is right! I suppose I should steer this blog back into the “life of an artist’s model” groove. Heck, that’s how it was born.
Having said all that, I’d like to now share this utter bullshit painting by a 19th century artist named James Ferguson Weir. I should mention that the name of this ridiculousness is – get ready - His Favorite Model. Huh?? I’m sorry, but what is this horseshit?
Excuse me???? Dancing with her?? Get outta here!!
Ok. I’m being a bit of a jerk. I know all about “lay figures”. They are artificial “models” – mannequins really- that have been used by artists for a very long time, particularly for use in displaying drapery and garments. The practice is not nearly as scandalous as I’m making it out to be. I’m just putting on a “feigned outrage” routine. My only two issues with this painting are 1) why would a painter make a painting OF the dummy model? 2) why is the dummy his “favorite”? Really? His favorite? Damn you Weir!
I actually have no background information about Weir or this particular painting. All I know is that I’m seriously offended!! <—— not really
But here’s the kicker. The dictionary definition of “lay figure” has two entries. The first reads as follows:
a jointed model of the human body, usually of wood, from which artists work in the absence of a living model
The second definition reads as follows:
a person of no importance, individuality, distinction, etc; nonentity