Undressed by Jessica Lichtenstein

| 77 comments

A series of erotic figurines by American artist Jessica Lichtenstein is on show at Gallery Nine5 in New York.

Called Undressed, the installation displays over 25 semi-nude female characters in a range of scenarios from serving food, to sitting on the toilet, to fighting off miniature soldiers.

The exhibition continues until 15 February.

Here's some information from the gallery:

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Gallery nine5 is pleased to present 'Undressed', an exhibition of recent works by Jessica Lichtenstein.

While studying art history at Yale University, Lichtenstein became fascinated with representations of femininity and the use of eroticism as a narrative device.

"I love looking at the way women have been depicted from classic times to modern times- from Botticelli's rotund figures, to Fragonard's playful yet overly ornate figures, to Ingre's elongated Odalisque, to Picasso's abstract sharpest patterns.

They all show one theme- women and their sexuality- yet it is expressed in so many different styles."

Japanese manga and anime are strong influences on Lichtenstein's work and serve as vital conduits in her exploration of 'twisted' childhoods and lost innocence.

Lichtenstein subverts objects synonymous with youth, in order to imbue them with new associations and richer meanings.

Citing her rigorous education in art history and classic literature as the most formative influences on her stylistic development, Lichtenstein also draws inspiration from New York's pervading art scene and her conception of the 'amorphous and cross-cultural' nature of contemporary art.

Central to Lichtenstein's artistic practice in her exploration of the act of viewing.

Each of her anime figures is conscious that she is being offered to the audience for examination.

The highly stylised poses convey self-awareness and confidence, as Lichtenstein strives to vest each girl with an innate sense of empowerment and shared experience.

Each vignette in Lichtenstein's Installation functions as a slate upon which the viewer can project his or her own aspirations and fantasies.

Lichtenstein's work can be found in private collection in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Nice, Spain, New York, Palm Beach, Beverly Hills, London, Paris and Madrid.

| 77 comments

Posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 3:19 am by Chris Barnes. See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • bakku

    The presence of a “Lichtenstein” surname drew me in deeper hoping for a deep talent with in the blood lines (who she may our may not be related to the Roy Lichtenstein). However, this is only interesting to my id as for which this site does not apply to.

  • bgatz

    agree with most of the above– murakami already did it, and made tons of money at the same time.

    regardless of “if this is art or not” no one likes a copy cat– especially one that warrants valuable blog space on dezeen, hence the backlash.

    anyway she gets her 15minutes, andy would be proud.

  • Esistential

    @bgatz- your argument doesn’t hold up. Anime existed before Murakami. It’s like saying that any Impressionist artist who came after Monet was a fake- but there has been tons of artists like that.

    Anime is a genre- like Baroque or Pop-or like anything (music- i.e., rap, hip hop). It existed WAY before Murakami and will exist after. If people want to derive other means of expressing any anime, they should be able to do so without having to answer to “another artist already did that”.

  • MarieLine

    Some People here are REALLY Jealous!!!

    If you don’t see the message in this work, then you have clouded eyes.
    It’s fun, it’s light, it’s a commentary on women and their fantasies, it’s sexy and it’s beautiful to look at.
    Debating whether this is ART or not is a whole different ball game. I mean, is a Fontana art?? A one-color painted canvas with a slit in the middle! I mean, I can do that my eyes closed; but I pull my hat off to the artist who had the idea of it, who carried the message, who represented a moment in the culture of that time.

    I’m not comparing here, I’m just saying STOP this intellectual masturbation and enjoy this work for what it is, pure enjoyment. And well done to the girl if she managed to get a show, where I hear she sold pretty well…
    I’d love to have one of those at home, it’d put a smile on my face every day.

  • cacas

    yeeeeees!!! I want them all!!!

  • http://www.finkernagelross.com Lior

    finally………….! thank you…..

  • bgatz

    @Esistential:
    @bgatz- your argument doesn’t hold up. Anime existed before Murakami. It’s like saying that any Impressionist artist who came after Monet was a fake- but there has been tons of artists like that.

    I don’t think you understand much about pop art but probably spend way too much time watching subtitled DVDs…

    In effect you are saying Campbell’s Soup came before Warhol therefore his work is predated. The intellectual critique is the point NOT simply that the subject matter is anime or soup for that matter. This artist is essentially using the the exact same route to make her point, hence it is derivative.

  • Esistential

    @bgatz- actually do agree with you- it is derivative. my point is that all art is derivative. It is not me saying “In effect you are saying Cambell’s Soup came before Warhole therefore his work is predated”- you are saying that (I think you used “copy cat”), I am saying the opposite.

    To point singularly at the artist just because she uses anime is unfair, uniformed and inconsistent. Then anyone who uses anime (a genre that existed before Murakami) you will now call insignificant becuase Murakami already has “been there and done that.” That gets rid of artists like Hung Tung-Lu, Zhang Gong or Zhang Peng solely because they reference anime. And I disagree it is not the same route. Tiny anime girls in western dioramas that hang on a wall is not the same as a life-sized “Lonesome Cowboy”. To not see that is a failure of the imagination.

  • ghull

    lol! ok! BEST-POST-EVER

  • http://www.anthonyjfoti.com You’re all depressing me

    I’m confused as to how 95% of the people on here seem to be missing the point (As I understand it). I just read the comments on another article that spun off into the healthcare debate and if the ratio intelligent people on the internet is anywhere near that of the real world, I fear for the future. The artist isn’t trying to pretend like the sculpted the figures, and their sexuality is not supposed to be a good thing. It’s putting these insanely sexualized representations of women (That are becoming more and more popular throughout the world, not just in Japan) amongst more realistic objects to highlight how unrealistic and subservient the figures are. Using irony to point out the subservient role women are being pushed into isn’t a new idea, but there’s more to it than “just hentai styled figurines”.

    Actually, going back to the post I was just quoting;

    “Seriously though, if this was in Forbidden Planet or a comic shop it wouldn’t be called art. It’s just hentai styled figurines and a pretentious blurb doesn’t change that.”

    Bad news for you, buddy. The figurines themselves are art as well. They may not say anything important (or positive, for that matter), but it’s all art. If someone paints it, sculpts it, composes it, arranges it or rearranges it… it’s art (Check out Duchamp).

  • henry

    I Love New YorK: But This Exhibition Is Worthless. Augustus Rodin gave us The Thinker. Is This The Stinker?..I Wouldn’t mind taking that shot on the Eight Ball though lol. Come on this is neither art nor erotic arts.They Also have an Lesbians Exhibition in Brooklyn.

  • Felicity

    Too much Takashi Murakami influence!

  • ken

    what no guys? what happened to equal time?

  • http://newghost.net Tali

    Her work is not saying anything that Murakami’s has already said. Actually, it is doing less by still drawing attention to womens bodies without any real underlying message or true irony. I see no statement here about high/low art, otaku culture as demeaning, etc. At least she knows some perverts will buy her dolls with the justification of “gallery purchases”. I think the only thing that softens it for me is the fact that its made by a female. But just like britney’s body was to “music”, it doesn’t mean anything today in the scheme of things to start doing it now…

  • Lord

    I wonder how it would look if we took the manga dolls and put a barbie doll instead? too much cliché? same crap to me. oh well i’ve seen worst than this. at least it’s easy to talk about art. why talk about some tv series episode when you can talk about “art”.

  • marmite

    Some things will never change . You can take the man out of the cave ………….

  • http://www.michaelprice.info Michael Price

    Place this work next to the figures of Michelangelo and you can see how small the work of Jessica Lichtenstein is. After all we have to all measure ourselves by history.
    Yours sincerely,
    Michael Price

  • TinyTim

    Love it. And bet the artist loves these comments- even the ones trying to be negative are only negative in so much as it is comparing an unknown artist to Michaelangelo or Murakami. Good for you Lichtenstein. Like to see more.

  • ooko

    I would like version with naked men.

  • pinokio

    The porn sites are gonna die:(

  • Court

    I would have to see them in person to form a real opinion. While I appreciate the artist’s attempt to depict these hypersexual manga characters as anticipating the male gaze, and returning it in a powerful subjective way it seems like they are only reifying the many problems of visual representation in art. I cite the many comments on how ‘sexy’ they are. I guess you could say that they are in control of their own commodification, so they are empowered, but I feel like you would have to have sign, or person standing there telling you that that is what they are doing. By depicting them working, or serving food while in these poses also reiterates the long history in western art of fascination with the voyeuristic male artists obsession with classing the female body, to which you could say that they are looking back at the audience, so they are in control of the voyeurism, so I can see both sides. Tough call.

  • adrian

    Lol my room is full of hentai figures and i dont call that art.
    Is just stupid!

  • Pierre Sinsua

    i think these kind of dollys would interest the son more than the daughter

  • http://www.whatsyourobsession.com Alfred

    Some of them look interesting but I’m not grasping a deeper meaning from them. Not cool to not credit the original sculptors either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/itatatatatatata Ellen Wells

    These are just hentai figures. In fact, the one with the tan skin and grey hair is a character from Ah! My Goddess called Urd. The one with the headphones and her boob falling out her apron is from Super Sonico, the exact statue here http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQlY5Qnt3
    They all have varying quality to them, so it seems clear she's not made them herself, apart from the fact I recognise some of them…
    Absolute cop out "art". People in previous comments have mentioned Takashi Murakami; his work IS art. There is some sort of commentary behind it, there is thought and real work put into it. I'm not saying you have to be japanese to create japanese style art, but when you're just displaying BOUGHT anime figures, you're doin' it wrong.

  • Kyle Scarborough

    Agree. She’s buying the dolls, buying the toy props, and gluing them onto a pedestal. My kids have some of the props from other toys, like the tennis raquet from a “bratz” doll set. Interesting, I guess, but it’s not art, it craft. Anyone that pays a pretentious price is going to feel silly at some point.