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If Lichtenstein had been a woman

Philomena, let’s say, instead of Roy. Philomena Lichtenstein. Her canvases of love stories for example, would they have been explained in relation to her condition as a woman? Would pop art have started as an artistic movement if it had been a group of women artists? Perhaps it would have been talked about as women’s art, with its use of the everyday, and it wouldn’t have been more than an anecdote.

Like madonnas. A woman with a baby painted by a man is an archetype, a madonna. A woman with a baby by a woman is a comment on her female condition. Why is women’s work understood as a derivative of their condition and if a man does the same it turns into something that concerns humanity?

At the Lichtenstein exhibition, like in many others, I often thought, what if this had been done by a woman? Perception is changeable. Many things are valued depending on who does them. And it is tiring. At least I get tired.

Like that canvas at an auction that had one price when it was anonymous but decreased when it was known that it had been painted by a woman. Is that objectivity? I call that manipulation. The work is or isn’t good. Or if it isn’t like that let us at least be honest and say: this has a value if national so-and-so has done it and another if done by foreign so-and-so. It is true that there is a crisis of values. The ones we have are second had and the batteries have run out.

 

Illustration: “Mother and child”, from the Feminist gooseneck barnacles series.

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