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 BergÃ¨res
|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: