November 28, 2011

The art professor who photographs himself — with his students — "in various stages of undress, enacting sexually charged (and sometimes classical) scenes."

At Michigan State University, they're talking about Professor Danny Guthrie. Check out his photographs here. He says:
In the last couple of decades many female artists have investigated the personal landscape of their sexuality, as a means to seize control of their own representation within a culture milieu whose imaging of women has a long track record of idealization and exploitation. Taking my cue from this work, through direct and indirect references to classical painting and photography, my intent is to acknowledge these various traditions and debates, twisting and blurring the codes of classical aesthetics, contemporary rhetorically motivated art, and even erotica.
Ah! So he's riffing on those feminist artists. 
In particular, I want the viewer to know I am investigating a history and practice of representation where the roles of viewer and viewed, seducer and object of seduction, are examined and perturbed. In short, I hope to move beyond simplistic notions of viewer and victim, exploring the possibility of a complicated exchange of power that informs the way these pictures come about.
But then... to use students....
Such collaboration involves considerable risk-taking and trust. The images do not mean I have this or that fantasy about a particular individual or situation, but they do explore emotions that I -- and I assume most others -- have felt.
So... the controversy is part of the art. 

61 comments:

Heart_Collector said...

Yo thats fuckin creepy.

Heart_Collector said...

My wife was watching some wanna be knock of off project run way, some kind of art thing, and one of the girls takes a picture of herself topless with her bottle filled with shit in the middle of her tits and wins...

Is this where society is at?

Henry said...

Old news. Similar stuff got Thomas Eakins dismissed from the Pennsylvania Academy in 1886.

Heart_Collector said...

Titus would you do him?

ricpic said...

The perfesser's in the "twisting and blurring" and fondling business.

Bob_R said...

He has to lean on the "twisting a bluring" and b.s. The photos aren't terribly good, not least because he's a rather bad model. Very unnatural.

Mark O said...

This is not art.

MadisonMan said...

How will this help them beat Wisconsin again this Saturday? It won't.

But cue the moralists. I have some pearls if you want to clutch them.

chuck said...

I just wish his photos were better porn, umm..., art. Some of the best artists produced really good stuff in that line, but politics degrades everything ;)

Tim said...

Painters/Photographers have been hitting on models since painters/photographers have been painting/taking pictures of models.

This is news?

Otherwise, both the professor and his students should know better. Hiding behind the veil of "art" is utterly transparent.

Lucius said...

When I write bad poetry I tell myself I'm riffing on the vibrant works of contemporary lesbian poets. I keep a couple of chapbooks around to remind myself how low the bar is set nowadays.

His photos just look like rehearsal outtakes from a bad Shakespeare production. Nothing 'exciting'-- just dull stupidity.

Roger J. said...

Academe continues its downward spiral into irrelevance.

This is some sick shit. But heaven forfend we should challenge thi shibboleth of "academic freedom."

Titus said...

No, I wouldn't do him.

Freeman Hunt said...

Ha ha. After that buildup I expected the photos to be much more risque.

You get a very strong vibe of respectful distance from all of those photos.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that the photos aren't that noteworthy -- but I wonder if that's partly the point?

Freeman Hunt said...

I agree that the photos aren't that noteworthy -- but I wonder if that's partly the point?

That would be clever.

nevadabob said...

Sheesh,

I thought there was going to be some hot OMYG porn here (Old Man, Young Girl). It's the main reason I come to Althouse ... for the freak porn.

All we have here is a slightly bi-curious old pedobear too afraid to take off his students' clothes.

Yawn.

Kevin said...

I don't see any big deal with this at all. None of the photos at the link are particularly sexual, none involve nudity, and they all seem to me to be exactly what the guy is describing. A good one is "Proxyimity." I think it gets the same kind of interesting uncomfortableness that Le déjeuner sur l'herbe gets, but without the nudity.

If you are going to complain about exploiting an artistic relationship, I have a much much harder time with directors who put actresses they want to bone in their films and then have them do nude or strong sex scenes. Woody/Scarlett is a good example. The film My Wife is an Actress dealt with this theme in depth.

Heart_Collector said...

Those arnt that bad but you havnt seen the ones he did with his kidnergarden class yet.

E.M. Davis said...

He should be fired because those photos are terrible.

Rialby said...

How did I know that when I looked at that first picture of the creepy old dude that the photographer was also one of the models? Gross.

MayBee said...

I used to believe the whole 'artists see the naked body and sexuality as art' argument, and then I started working with photographers.

William said...

I myself am conducting an interesting experiment on the effects of photography on the libidos of Victoria Secret models. In one scenario, we are photographed while making love. In the other, not. It should be interesting to see how the very act of photography either increases or diminishes the libido of professional models. There needs to be a control group of Sports Illustrated models to verify the findings. We don't want it to be said that there was any Stapel like manipulation of the data.

Saint Croix said...

Yo thats fuckin creepy.

What are you, Amish?

These photographs are tame, utterly. There is no controversy at all. If there is one, that speaks badly on the people who find it controversial. Seriously, what the fuck? Our culture is uptight about this, but abortion is okay?

edutcher said...

I agree the pics are boring, but the build-up makes you wonder if his mother's maiden name was Sandusky.

chrisnavin said...

In this comment, I hope to trace the arc of the desire for transgression, within and without personal and social history, which calls to mind other comments and commenters as part of a ongoing meta-narrative that perhaps may exist only in my own mind and the mind of the imagined reader, thus revealing the paradox of our individual isolation, reliance upon technology, and inability to define universally valid cognitive structures in the online world, and perhaps in the mind itself.

The Crack Emcee said...

Feminism pays off again.

It's been so very important to us all,...

Saint Croix said...

When the epitaph of feminism is written, we will say how fucking uptight that ideology was about human sexuality. Hostile to sex, and hostile to the babies the sex act creates.

Insanity.

Roger J. said...

Chris wins the thread--

chrisnavin said...

Whoops, that should read "normative" at the end. That's an A minus. Still enough for the

This guy really needs to grow a ponytail, or don a beret. Let those locals and feminist squares know you're coming.

Saint Croix said...

As to whether these students are coerced into sexuality, give me a fucking break. They're adults! We're not talking kids here.

When I was in law school, and taking a seminar on Women and Law, this girl gave a paper in which she argued that sex between a therapist and his patient should be defined as rape.

And I said, "Well, what if both people consent?"

And she said to me, in a quivering voice, "It's rape!"

It did not seem to occur to her that she is defining adult sexual conduct as statutory rape. Or, in other words, defining adults as children.

Feminism is a totalitarian philosophy that ultimately denies woman her choice. See, for instance, the feminist fight to keep Republicans from passing the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which made it a crime to kick the shit out of a pregnant woman in the street and kill her unborn child.

Feminists sought to defeat this bill because they do not actually give a shit for women or women's rights--these women had chosen to keep their babies--but because feminism is about ideology. And a totalitarian one at that.

The feminist attack on art--even bad art--is disgusting.

PatCA said...

Translation of his academic essay: I want to touch young pretty people.

sonicfrog said...

I agree that the photos aren't that noteworthy -- ....

But the old guy is in pretty good shape... For an old guy.

Just saying.

that-xmas said...

You know...black and white photography is more...arty. Those pictures need to be more...arty.

A. Shmendrik said...

He is looking for an early retirement, and I think he found it.

Saint Croix said...

Mitch Goldsmith, one student, wrote in The State News that many of the photographs show the female figure appearing dead or immobile as the professor's character stands over her or observes her.

"The women’s bodies, pacified and disempowered through death, are juxtaposed with the professor’s as he stands, sits or in some way inserts himself over the bodies of the women. He -- virile, powerful and masculine -- and they ­-- disempowered, silenced and feminine. In this way, these photographs are not new but depict patriarchal sexual relations dating back millennia. The disempowerment of his female counterparts is the empowerment of himself, the triumph of masculinity over the feminine," Goldsmith wrote.


This is a man writing this. A brainwashed, stupid self-hating man. Do you not have a penis, Mitch Goldsmith? When you have sex with a woman, do you want power (potency) or no power (impotency)? Please think before you respond, or you might be required to perform cunnilingus the rest of your days. Or go ahead and have that sex-rassignment surgery, since the phallus is evil.

How do you plan on being a father, Mr. I Do Not Like The Patriarchy? What I want to know is what teacher brainwashed you and clipped your fucking balls off. Because that is just pathetic.

And I am talking to you like an adult, boy, so grow the fuck up.

MayBee said...

Is Saint Croix Shouting Thomas? Was their a name change I missed?

t-man said...

This thread was worth it purely for nevadabob's "slightly bi-curious old pedobear" comment.

An epithet worthy of Homer, or Spy Magazine.

Saint Croix said...

Is Saint Croix Shouting Thomas?

I was aiming for a Crack homage.

Man, it's hard to do performance art in blogging comments.

DCS said...

Reminds me a little of Sally Mann and her photographs using her children in poses that in some eyes crossed the line.

Heart_Collector said...

Saint Croix said...
Yo thats fuckin creepy.

What are you, Amish?

These photographs are tame, utterly. There is no controversy at all. If there is one, that speaks badly on the people who find it controversial. Seriously, what the fuck? Our culture is uptight about this, but abortion is okay?


Amish... Abortion.. lol

Santa Clause asserting himself with his students rubbing his bodys aganst them taking pictures.... Thats the creepy part.

I fail to see where Amish and Abortion come into play on this brosef.

When I saw the pictures I said hmm maybe if I went to college that could be me... then I said ew, thats fucking creepy. Maybe Ill have to work at home deopt, but at least that guys ass cheeks didnt touch my chest for a photo. lol.

Saint Croix said...

I fail to see where Amish and Abortion come into play on this brosef.

Amish = uptight about sex
You = uptight about sex

this is actually unfair to the Amish.

These photographs are frickin' G-rated.

We live in a culture drenched with sex, and the academy is a puritan (unfair to actual puritans) fascist hellhole where you are not allowed to touch other people in art.

Any discussion of sex is liable to remind me of abortion. Why? Because sex leads to unwanted babies, and that leads to infanticide. That is the basis for the Judeo-Christianity attempt to constrain human sexuality. We're worried about infanticide.

Our society flips the shit around, with no concern about actual infanticide, and this stupid fucking fasicsm over sexual trivia.

Did your football coach ever pat you on the ass? Did it ruin your life? Or is it no fucking big deal at all?

Our sexual hang-ups are retarded and annoy the fuck out of me. This repression is insane.

Strelnikov said...

His pictures are amateur crap. Your tax dollars at work.

Jenner said...

The only reason to talk about these pictures is because of the relationship of the subjects in them. He hopes this "controversy" will catapult him into some avant garde artsy status, because the pictures on their own stink. They really do look like a mock-up storyboard for a B movie.

lgv said...

I was expecting a much more Mapplethorpish set of images when I read "controversy is part of the art".

Controversy? Not so much. Not worthy of vast discussion.

Lucius said...

Saint Croix's running commentary is quite correct: the only thing to find "controversial" here would be the mediocrity of the photos, or the academic verbal baggage with which the 'artist' seeks to lend them significance.

These photos are unutterably tame. I'm fine with having 'ethical' standards that keep professors from boning their (current, waiting for a grade) students, but the throne of God will not tremble for a fit old fart to lust after college students. Or to have college-age people portrayed as sexual creatures. Even in the nude. And sheesh, certainly not over these tame little tableaux vivant.

madAsHell said...

I'm sure Jerry Sandusky, and his Second Mile organization had a similar charter.

Saint Croix said...

the throne of God will not tremble for a fit old fart to lust after college students.

Yes, but this sexual repression is not religious. It is secular. It is feminist. Read the rant this student has penned. It is as ideological, as boring, and as insane as any Marxist thought.

"many of the photographs show the female figure appearing dead or immobile"

To this moron, sex = death.

"these photographs are not new but depict patriarchal sexual relations dating back millennia."

Yeah, cause that's how people reproduce, moron.

This man is showing an unbelievable hostility to sexual relations with women. He is showing an unbelievable hostility to his own sex. He was born with a penis and now he is raging against it, like a programmed idiot. And he's showing an unbelievable hostility to human reproduction. Do you actually want humanity to stop having reproductive sex? Moron?

And I do not for a moment believe that this stupid babbling idiot is hostile to any of those things. He likes sex. He probably has sex. So there is a disconnect between what he says and who he actually is. It's rampant dishonesty. And if he means it, that's just all the more appalling. It's vile hatred of men and sex, taught in the fucking schools.

The utter viciousness and stupidity of feminism drives me to distraction. It is man-hatred, baby-hatred, and ultimately a denial of a woman's free will, her right to participate in art if she wants to, or to have sex with a man if she wants to do that.

Feminism is now a fascist ideology, one that kills innocent babies, censors images and words, and indoctrinates people so that young men will regurgitate this utter horseshit.

It is time for feminism to die.

Methadras said...

These fucking weirdos have found every possible avenue (ACADEMIA) to exploit their demented proclivities and call it 'art'. Why did this 'professor of art' find it necessary to use himself as the subject?

Heart_Collector said...

Its not about sex or being grossed out, are you nuts. Its just thinking about some old guy teacher perv rubbing up on you.

Fuckin amish, uptight about sex... lol

Someones uptight alright.

Saint Croix said...

Its not about sex or being grossed out, are you nuts. Its just thinking about some old guy teacher perv rubbing up on you.

Ah, it's ageism for you. Got it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

At Penn State University, they're talking about Professor Danny Guthrie.

FIFY.

Heart_Collector said...

So when you were in college you liked touching skin with old men... got it.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not sure how pedophile Jerry Sandusky is in the same league as an Art Professor posing next to adults.

Can someone explain that to me?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Oh, dear. No, you do not get to play "Tarquin and Lucretia" with your student. I don't care how hot she is.

The other day there was an item on failbook: two kids in a chemistry class were dissing each other, and one said something like, "Well, your girlfriend has 67 protons." [Whole class looks at periodic table on the wall; element 67 is Holmium, abbreviated "Ho." Teacher laughs before anyone else.]

But teachers do not get to laugh at stuff like that, even when it's funny. Still less do they get to stage rape scenes with their students. I don't care how "educational" and/or "artistic" you think it is; you've crossed a line so long ago that you probably couldn't see it over the horizon if you turned around.

wv: blismedr. Please, dude, reset your blismedr.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

MadisonMan,

I'm not sure how pedophile Jerry Sandusky is in the same league as an Art Professor posing next to adults.

Can someone explain that to me?


Oh, it's not in the same league; it's just in the same general creepy vicinity.

You might remember, from days of yore, talk of power asymmetries -- how the boss had power over the employee, the parent over the child, the teacher over the student. How consent was difficult to define when such asymmetries were present.

Of course, after the Clinton farrago, practically everyone preferred to forget that line. (I imagine that if the CEO of an oil company had had an unpaid minion a couple years older than his daughter routinely fellating him under his desk, he wouldn't have had a job for long, but whatever.)

Anyway ... if my professor were to want to pose as Tarquin, with me as Lucretia, could I assume that there would be no consequences if I were to refuse?

Saint Croix said...

So when you were in college you liked touching skin with old men... got it.

No. I just wouldn't obsess about it in my diary. Now go wash your hands again and again and again.

Paul said...

He is just a dirty old man trying to disguise his 'art' as, uh, art.

What a joke!

Next thing you know he will be playing with his willie in front of the camera.

dande said...

The professor may be a B.S. artist, but he's a lousy photographer.

homo œconomicus said...

Oh fer cryin out loud. There's nothing wrong with what he did. Was he banging the students? No. Were they all willing participants? Yes. Were all parties involved adults? Yes.

This is a ridiculous non-story.

Youngblood said...

"Old news. Similar stuff got Thomas Eakins dismissed from the Pennsylvania Academy in 1886."

Exactly what I was thinking.

Eakins would take photos with his students, both as studies for his own work and his students' work. They actually found a treasure trove of his photos relatively recently, and when I read the headline, that's what I thought the article would be about.

The funny part is that Eakins's photos are actually racier. Everything old is new again, I guess.