Image Universe: Visualizing Desire

"Image Universe" presents image essays inspired by our articles, reviews, and the work of local artists.

Editor's Note

Publishing "Olfactive Memory: The Locale of Scent" by Laurence Ross last week on Hové Parfumeur and the art of perfume-making, we got to thinking about desire, identity, and visibility. What does desire look like historically? For this installment of "Image Universe," we take Ingres' La Grande Odalisque as our starting point to think about the trope of the reclining nude and the images that have cemented, circumvented, and subverted this tradition of visualizing desire.

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, La Grande Odalisque, 1814. Oil on canvas. Courtesy Wikipedia commons.

MICKALENE THOMAS, Portrait of Mama Bush 1, 2010. rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel on wood panel. Courtesy

Hassan Hajjaj, Odalisque, 2007. monochrome digital print inset with cartons and glass jars mounted on board in artist's frame. Courtesy

Photo of Marilyn Monroe and photographers by Earl Theisen for Look magazine, 1951. Courtesy

Photo of Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, 1995, which set the world record price for a living artist when it sold for $33.6m in 2008. Courtesy

Henry Moore, Recumbent Figure, 1938. Green Hornton stone. Courtesy

Nan Goldin, Rebecca at the Russian Baths, New York City, 1985. c-print. Courtesy

Generic Art Solutions, Olympia, 2007. archival print. Courtesy the artists and Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans.

Photo by Niki Grangruth and James Kisner and First place winner of the 2014 Soho Photo National Photography Competition. Courtesy

Mel Ramos, Velveeta, 1965. oil on canvas. Courtesy

Renee Cox, Olympia's Boyz, 2001. C-Print. Courtesy

Chris Ofili, Triple Beam Dreamer, 2001-02. acrylic, oil, leaves, glitter, polyester resin, map pins, and elephant dung on linen. Courtesy the artist, David Zwirner, New York/London, and Victoria Miro, London.

Tony Smith, Amaryllis, 1965. Steel and paint. Courtesy matthew marks, New York.

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, 1979. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy

Robert Mapplethorpe, Derrick Cross, 1983. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy


Photo Essay