Laurie Long Term Paper

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Laurie Long, a contemporary American artist, has a style most uniquely her very own. What she does is to fuse together disparate elements of pop culture, humor, and more predominantly, feminism and feminist culture. This combination is often seen in all her works of art, and today, one of her more fascinating pieces is that of 'The Secret History of Goddess Sites' wherein Laurie Long documents the several places in Europe where female deities are being worshipped, even today. The artist states that some of the sites may have been real, some of them dubiously reconstructed, and some more of them replaced by churches and other significantly archaeological treasures, and these were reconstructed by the artist with the help of several photographs and prints and so on. She has managed to re-contextualize each site, and also address important issues such as feminism and other gender issues within the artwork, and this is one of the important trademarks of the artist, wherein symbols of feminism and other important issues are inculcated into the art form, creating a pleasing and at the same time, an image that would grab the person's attention. (Laurie Long: www.gasworks.org)

In her work 'Becoming Nancy Drew', Laurie Long concentrated more on detective work and the result was a body of work in which the artist was able to achieve a literal transformation of herself and her persona into Nancy Drew, the very famous girl sleuth, the character from the famous series, 'Nancy Drew', where Nancy Drew plays the most important part and leads the action. Laurie Long states that in this particular work, she transferred herself into the photographic tableaux that were actually based on several engravings form the books. Each of the several photographs is actually one part of a triptych in which each image had included within it a pinhole sized image of the scene in which the photo had been adapted form, and also included a caption form the originally created engraving. Each of the three pieces within the triptych coexist in close bonding with each other in a mysterious manner, wherein the mysterious, the familiar, and the cryptic mingle and cooperate in a fine blend. The commingling helps one to comprehend and understand the ways in which the three elements, in working together, confront, and then expand the boundaries that generally surround the physical limitations of personal narrative, memory, and personal identity. The photographs, although they are in color, have very deep shadows and certain looming foreground objects, and when combined with the stark lighting, they make an impression of having belonged to the 1940's. (Drew Stories: In 'Girl Power!' exhibit at SJ Museum of Art, Laurie Long spies on her own life)

In another work by Laurie Long, entitled 'Dating Surveillance Project', the artist states that she had to actually wear a coat rigged with a concealed camera and with a hidden microphone too, so that she could record the dates on which she could go on her so-called 'dates' and record them for posterity. The opinion of the artist is that going on a date is akin to any sort of 'spy mission' wherein surveillance was the watch word, and whatever was accomplished in this work was very much like a mission had been accomplished with a spy surveillance camera. The work is comprised of a number of stills form the dating mission, and from a large amount of video footage, that was shot without the awareness of the subject. The desire of the artist for some sort of a love life, while she was so very busy working at a day job in order to be able to finance her art career resulted in the role-playing work of art entitled the 'Dating Surveillance Project'. The work of art was originally meant to be a method of multi-tasking; the bane of modern life, especially for the workingwoman of today, and combined with a certain amount of love, as well as intrigue. This was the result. (In-depth Arts News: 'Laurie Long: Dating Surveillance Project')

The concept of the artist would be understood completely only if the works were to be viewed together. Deep down, the project was actually the investigation into the deep and intrinsic role-playing that every individual indulges in their day-to-day lives and the privacy and self-preservation that every one strives to uphold, versus the surveillance that they are faced with in their everyday lives. (Laurie Long: www.gasworks.org) The artist Laurie Long not only dyed her hair the color of a Titian blonde, but also wore a proper gray skirt and a starched white blouse, almost as if she were the character from the Nancy Drew books, Nancy Drew herself. The artist was only adding to the general excitement that her works were generating in the San Jose Museum of Art. (Drew Stories: In 'Girl Power!' exhibit at SJ Museum of Art, Laurie Long spies on her own life)

Laurie Long held her very first major exhibition of her series entitled 'Girl Power!' In the San Jose Museum of Art, of which the 'Becoming Nancy Drew' and 'Dating Surveillance Project' are two important pieces. The charm of the works lie in the fact that the artist uses them as literal vehicles by using the medium of pop art to convey her message, and the message is that social conventions are at times more silly than useful. Laurie Long not only questions the social conventions of today, especially in her work, 'Dating Surveillance Project', wherein she explores the social conventions concerned with the prospect of dating. It is through these two important works that the artist also attempts to encourage the audience or the viewers to not only lay emphasis and focus on their own views of society and its intricacies, but also on the values of society as a whole. The series, Becoming Nancy Drew not only drew a lot of attention and recognition to the artist as a talented person, but also brought to the forefront the manner in which she could treat a serious subject such as the construction of the female identity within the work, and also encourage the viewer to look at it with a touch of humor as well as with a lot of seriousness. The various roles that the society expects a woman to play are delineated within this series and this in a light hearted and humorous manner. (A Provocative Look at the Construction of Female Identity: San Jose Museum of Art)

Why the artist chose this particular persona to express her beliefs and feelings about feminine power and Girl Power especially is not very difficult to comprehend. One reason may be that Nancy Drew has always been recognized as one of the role models of female power, and the character has been popular with both young and with old for generation after generation. Some of the other works by the artist Laurie Long, like for example, the 'Live Action Painting Bra', which has a bra, or what is known as a support garment, squirting paint at passersby. The idea behind the work, as explained by the artist, was that it was actually an in depth examination of the popular romantic idea that associates, traditionally, 'action' with 'virility' in a man. This particular work employs high technology to be able to squirt the paint. When compared to the series on 'Becoming Nancy Drew', it can be stated that this work does not have the delicate balance and the sensibility of the latter, and therefore, does not appeal too much to the general public taste. Not only is Nancy Drew a famous character and very well-known by a lot of people, but the work is also more humorous without encroaching on a person's sensibilities. (Panty Rave: Laurie Long's Girl Power! exhibit probes the dimensions of female power)

In another work entitled 'Artist Panty Vending Machine', the artist states that she once heard about a strange custom that schoolgirls in Japan followed. This is the custom wherein they would sell their used panties to older men for a price, and this prompted the artist Laurie Long to wear a panty on one particular day and then note down all her activities for that particular day, and then remove the panty and keep it sealed in a plastic cover. It was then that she developed the idea of creating an entire panty line in a panty vending machine where she would feed in her used panties. However, this may seem tasteless and vulgar to some, and the artists' basic ides and intentions may not be very well understood or even appreciated, except by a select few who could think in the same way as the artist was doing when she happened upon the idea of a used panty machine, and was able to create a work of art with this idea. In a comparison to the Nancy Drew series and the Dating Surveillance Project, the other works mentioned here seem to lack in aestheticism and taste.…[continue]

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