The Fashion Magpie Street Style

Weekend Vibes: Edition No. 9

Saturday, you’re here!!! YAY, I LOVE YOU.

This chic pea looks like how I want to feel on the weekends — breezy, comfortable, confident, and head-turningly stylish.  She’s also wearing my fav Hermes sandals (an investment for sure, but they go with errrrything; I got them in brown) and a stunning swiss dot maxi (not orange, but this gray style scratches a similar itch).

The Fashion Magpie Street Style

My Latest Score

I finally ordered some of this Drunk Elephant face cream ($60) with my Sephora VIBRouge 15% off code (if you’re a VIBRouge member, they’re running a special promo for ya right now).  It’s won a bunch of awards and my beauty bloggerina buddy Lara over at The Glossarie recommended this brand awhile ago.  Eagerly awaiting its arrival.  I also re-stocked my supply of Tocca Cleopatra candles.

The Fashion Magpie Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

You’re Sooooo Popular

The most popular items on Le Blog this past week…

+This well-priced ruffle-sleeved top ($59).

+This black on white baby book ($8) from a post my sister wrote for me on the best books for babies a few weeks back — I got a lot of traffic to that post this week!  Hoping it’s helping some of you round out your babe’s book shelf!

+This utility dress ($128).

+These custom name pennants from Etsy ($35)!  So cute for a child’s gallery wall.

+My favorite floral mini ($74).

#Turbothot

OK, this is a juicy one and there is SO much to unpack.  But have you heard the controversy around the installation of the Fearless Girl statue in NYC?  This article and this thought piece will give you decent grounding in the story to form your own opinion, but the TL;DR (for those of you not familiar with that abbrev, it means “Too Long; Don’t Read”) version is:

The artist Arturo Di Modica installed the famous bronze “Charging Bull” statue in the Financial District of NYC in the late 80s without authorization by the city, and at his own expense.  It’s since become a huge tourist attraction and the city has condoned its existence as a work of art on temporary loan from the artist.  It’s been viewed as a symbol of America’s economic resurgence after a dip in the market in the 80s–an emblem of America’s “bullishness.”

Then, on the eve of International Women’s Day this year, a new bronze statue of a small girl standing defiantly with her hands on her hips was installed–again, without permission from the city–in front of the bull.  Many interpreted the installation as a message of female empowerment: a young girl that would not be cowed by male aggression.  Many also saw it as related to the recent resurgence in women’s activism, much of it spurred by Trump’s election.

{Image source: Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press, originally used in this Washington Post article}

The artist behind the bull then decided to sue because he felt the fearless girl statue changed the meaning of his statue and deprived it of its original intent, siphoning power away from it.

But, here’s the rub: the girl statue was commissioned and installed by a multi-trillion dollar investment fund within the context of an advertising campaign focused on the first anniversary of its “Gender Diversity Index” fund, which bears the NASDAQ ticker symbol “SHE.”  The plaque next to the statue reads: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.”

People are freaking out about so many different aspects of this saga, rife as it is with conflicting and confusing threads of art, capitalism, ownership, viewership, and context.  It cuts to the core of a few major philosophical questions, bulkiest among them: what is art?  Mr. Magpie and I got into a long debate about whether the little girl statue even qualified as a work of art, or whether the plaque made it commercial marketing material and therefore depleted of artistic merit.  His thought was: “well, if we consider the little girl ‘art,’ couldn’t Pepsi paint the bull red and blue and call it ‘art’ too?”

But of course this all depends on context: if you didn’t know the backstory, you’d come upon the bull and the girl and you might think it was all part of one piece of art, and would interpret it as such.  Or, if you did know the backstory but didn’t know who had commissioned the little girl piece, you might feel differently about it once you found it had been installed as a part of an advertising campaign.

It also intrigued me that both pieces were installed as acts of trespass — not authorized by the city, placed there, in the words of one of the articles’ authors, as “guerilla-style art.”  SO, how can one artist claim he has the moral authority to do so while another does not?  Or does the fact that the latter was installed by a marketing firm in some way deny it the same latitude?  (Or should it?)

The one thing I do feel fairly strongly about is my opposition to the artist’s decision to sue because the fearless girl changes the meaning of his initial artwork.  In my opinion: tough cookies.  All art changes meaning as different viewers access it; it is constantly being re-defined, re-constituted, re-interpreted.  If you think about it, any artwork on loan from one museum to another in a sense changes meaning depending on the other artworks it is positioned among in the transfer.  Is a Picasso placed alongside a classical work of art in an exposition on portraiture in one museum, illuminating the many modes of portrait over time?  Or is it placed next to other modernist works of art, exploring the various facets of “modernist” technique?  Or is it right next to an earlier piece of Picasso’s, showcasing his maturing style?  Depending on how it’s been positioned, the very same art can assume new meanings and elicit new reactions.

But even if an artwork were not moved from place to place, time and varying trends and recent events will shape its interpretation by viewers.  (Not to mention the impact of the varied experiences that those viewers bring with them.)

Further, by installing the work in a public space and without permission, in my opinion, Di Modica further waived his right to “control” the work’s interpretation.  Would he sue if a new museum on women’s rights were installed right behind his statue, for example?  Would he sue if someone installed a bear statue just down the street?  Would he sue if someone performed street art or arranged a march that was at cross-purposes with his statue’s intent within its vicinity?

In other words, in my opinion, an artist cannot control or lay claim to control the interpretation of his or her artwork once released publicly.  Any attempts to do so are ridiculously futile and, quite honestly, dangerous.

There’s another element of artistic ownership that this debate highlights, and I touched on it a bit earlier: the notion that only certain people are authorized to portray certain things.  The identity politics of it all.  Very dangerous, in my opinion, to begin to slide down the slippery slope of deciding who can vs. who cannot write or paint or sculpt or otherwise depict certain people/perspectives/movements/etc.  Many are up in arms about the fact that this multi-trillion dollar fund is co-opting the women’s movement for its own marketing purposes.  We can disagree with it or resent it, but it’s alarming to begin to draw lines around which entities can explore which topics.  Right?  Or am I wrong here?  Murky waters for sure.

Ladies??  Your opinions, s’il vous plait.

Shopaholic

+This striped bib top ($79) is right up my alley.

+My cousin and I share a ridiculous sweet tooth.  (Well, that sounds weird.  But we both love candy.)  She sent me this article on finding candy in bulk on Amazon and now I can’t stop daydreaming about this industrial size pack of Now + Laters.  Am I the only one obsessed with N+Ls??  SO GOOD.

+Speaking of fruity goodness, how sweet is this strawberry pom-pommed romper for a mini?  Or this??

+I can’t say no to a personalized boat bag.  This one has ginger jars all over it.  AMAZING.  But do I need another…

+Super chic maternity dress alert. (These alerts are few and far between, so pounce on this one while you can, preggo ladies!)

+Smitten with this easy floral dress ($63) and its wallet-friendly price.  More floral pretties here.

8 Comments

  1. Lots to unpack, indeed! I’ll let you know when I’ve read the articles … so interesting.

    And thank you for your kind words! Feeling the love today, for sure.

  2. Ah, such good food for thought in this post, as in so many of yours — the main reason why your blog has become one of my top favorites! (Even if I typically am weeks behind once I get to reading your posts…)

    Anyway, I LOVE your “tough cookies” response to the artist’s decision to sue. As a former art history scholar, I am SO with you on this. I don’t have a ton of other thoughts on the controversy (yet – I’ve Instapapered both articles you linked!), but as I’ve said before, I so appreciate your commitment to discussing substantive matters alongside the fun frippery. It makes for a truly pleasurable blog-reading experience!

    1. MK, I genuinely look forward to your comments on a daily basis. So thoughtful and interesting and insightful. Thank you, as always, for engaging in such meaningful commentary here! Also, feeling pretty good about myself if an art history scholar agrees with me (smug face). LMK what you think after you’ve marinated on this for a bit. I keep thinking about it myself, and my Dad has started sending me lots of other articles on the topic. One interesting one made the point that artists should actually be thrilled with this entire debacle because — well, when was the last time that SCULPTURE was discussed with such interest by so many?? We talk about art, sometimes, as though it’s a dying beast, and here it is, vibrant and at the center of so much discourse! It was an interesting point. I’m really intrigued by the strain this phenomenon puts on the definition of art, too…ahh! Lots to unpack.

    1. Already loving the moisturizer!! It’s a little on the thicker side, which surprised me, but I’m already liking the results.

    1. I KNOW. So good. I wish I knew :/ I searched around online for it but couldn’t figure it out. Oh, the travails of Pinterest!

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