Bouguereau Put Venus on a Pedestal

Bouguereau Put Venus on a Pedestal, 2019, is a rendition based on William Adolphe-Bouguereau’s The Birth of Venus, 1879. Venus stands passively on a shell, a symbol of divine beauty. As Hickerson began to study Feminist Art, she began to understand that our bodies perform narratives that are socially constructed through the binary (boy and girl). When considering Hickerson’s personal narrative as a young female growing up in a society that overly sexualizes women, the viewer recognizes the influences of old narratives that still thrive today: female sexuality isn’t for herself, but rather spent at the desires of man. Thus, Adolphe-Bouguereau’s satyrs represent the persona of toxic masculinity within men who drunkenly wave money, and Venus, the exotic dancer, represents female disposition. The figures collide with space with lack of perspective and distorted light sources, challenging the perceived reality of learned behaviours.

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