Antin, "Plaisir d'Amour (after Couture)"
Thomas Couture, "Romans of the Decadence"
As the Foreword to Eleanor Antin's catalogue for the show Historical Takes observes Antin's work has long involved photography. One of earliest pieces, Carving: A Traditional Sculpture of 1972, presented photos of Antin herself, nude portraits shot from front, back and side, as she underwent a diet, losing several pounds of weight. Her famous postcard series 100 Boots portrayed the boots in various American landscapes as they traveled across the country. A great part of her various impersonations of the Ballerina, moreover, depended on photographic representation of Eleanora Antinova and the various roles she had performed. The series Angel of Mercy consisted entirely of photographs, made to look like gelatin silver prints of the 1850s of a kind of Florence Nightingale-like figure involved in the Crimean War.
In "All for Love," part of the Helen's Odyssey series, poor little cupid, his arrows crossed, is pulled in two directions by the admiring women entrapped in a guilt-encrusted room. This piqued little Cupid is frozen in the opposing pulls of his own admirers.
She isn't free to run away, the trunk would be too heavy,
she doesn't have a warm coat, and anyway, be real, where
would she go? My Helens are reasonable; it's the world
around them that's crazy.
Los Angeles, December 2008-March 2009