The MOMA’s current show on Jeff Wall displays as well a selction of images online. Among them the often mentioned Picture for Women, 1979, which is worth a bit closer look.
Jeff Wall himself describes his work on the MOMA online exhibition page as following:
|Picture for Women (1979) is a remake of Manet’s picture. The Bar had really impressed me: I’d seen it repeatedly in the Courtauld Gallery in London when I was a student. I wanted to comment on it, to analyze it in a new picture, to try to draw out of its inner structure, that famous positioning of figures, male and female, in an everyday working situation which was also a situation of specularity, that regime of distraction and entertainment which Manet dealt with. I made my picture as a theoretical diagram in an empty classroom. Maybe for Manet this spectacular regime was something immediate; but at the time I made Picture for Women these things had become openly theoretical, political issues, mainly through||
E.Manet, The Bar at the Folies Bergères
|the influence of the women’s movement in the art world. There were lessons being learned throughout the period, so maybe the classroom setting has something to do with this. I think that, at that time it was not so unusual to be bringing together a kind of theoretical activity-study – if you like – with the enjoyment of pictures.|
Definitly it is an image reflecting on the view and marked by its own timely circumstances, as the discussion on view, gaze and gender issues of that time. Nevertheless still a layered one to think about.
… on the course website of George Dillon from Washington University the following interesting excerpt can be found: