Magazine article Artforum International

Totally My Ass

Magazine article Artforum International

Totally My Ass

Article excerpt

PIOTR UKLANSKI Untitled (GingerAss), 2002

PIOTR UKLANSKI took a photograph of my ass. My naked buttocks are shown in full frame--a stretch mark here, a freckle there; my curves are far from heroin chic. The rest of my body is almost entirely cropped out, save a bit of upper thigh. From the arch of my upper back, it is obvious that I am slightly bending over, flashing my ass to the camera as if begging for a good smack, or perhaps longing for something else. It is certainly an inappropriate pose for a museum curator to assume in front of an artist.

Just another white girl's ass? Purchasing three pages in Artforum in order to publish this image along with a text that bluntly acknowledges my professional identity makes it impossible to write it off as such. With its various flaws, it neither offers the airbrushed perfection of a Playboy spread, nor the tasteful standards of an academic nude. This image courts the immediacy and accessibility of porn. Deliberately frontal and flat, the hackneyed subject of a girl's ass is designed to arouse the viewer by convincing him or her that this ass is real, credible, and obtainable while corresponding to a particular sexual fantasy.

Uklanski likes porn. It offers a clear-cut formula for how to create visual titillation using banal subjects and cliched techniques. His ongoing preoccupation with sunsets, flowers, full moonlit skies, city lights, and shimmering water goes beyond their photographic depictions in his signature series The Joy of Photography (1996 to present). …

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