Harmless Kitsch? Repulsive Misogyny? Allen Jones’ S&M Furniture

Picture: Juxtapoz (C)

Check out this cringe-inducing (or chuckle-inducing, YMMV) collection of furniture made of female mannequins in bondage gear at Juxtapoz. The furniture was the work of British pop artist Allen Jones.

You may know Jones’ work from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The sculptor’s work decorated the interior of the Korova Milkbar.

Jones’ work was recently explored in a short documentary titled Allen Jones: Women and Men, of which you can view three or so minutes here:

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  • Ted Heistman

    I bet a lot of freaky chicks are into this furniture. If so is it misogynist? What if a woman made it? Lots of female eroitic artists out there.

    • Jin The Ninja

      if a woman made it, it means the context is different, the value of production is different.
      the fact a man made it, does in fact, make it misogynist.

      • Mark

        No, it doesn’t. This is BDSM sub-culture related and has nothing to do with misogyny. Further to that, not all of these pieces are even of women; some of them are men. The mere suggestion that this is misogynistic is both extremely biased and shows a general ignorance, especially of sexual sub-cultures.

        • Ted Heistman

          Well I think the “mere suggestion” of it definately stimulates discussion.

        • Jin The Ninja

          a sub-culture, by definition, exists as a part of the larger culture. if that culture has a documented history of misogyny and sexism, it would infer that subcultures characterised by sexual practice also include at least some element of that history. the bdsm subculture is also not an orientation, it is a voluntary practice. to suggest that said community is in some way vulnerable to outside opinion would suggest it is parallel to communities of sexual orientation. that is quite ignorant.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            You have a picture of Andrea Dworkin on your wall admit it.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i’ve never been anti-sex, i am anti oppression. i am also not the final word in oppression; meaning simply just because i think something is problematic (and voice that opinion), it doesn’t mean the only value something contains is oppression. nor does it mean i am anti-sex. i can recognise something problematic (like porn) and still accept its practice.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            The best answer I heard a woman give to the question “Is porn demeaning to women?” is
            “some is, some isn’t”
            I am no expert on BDSM but I think the power exchange is not the same thing as a semi permanent thing like patriarchy but more like role playing. Some thing you put on and take off. And people get off on it in a safe setting.

            So as a libertarian I find it hard to be against.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i’m not, nor ever have been against bdsm, i am against cultural depictions of misogyny.

          • Calypso_1

            Are you aware of any opinion/theory (even if not widely accepted) to it being an orientation? Are you suggesting the underlying desires, drives & their manifestations are soley voluntary? Surely in practice it may be defined as voluntary.
            I am asking this outside the scope of the previous comments context of subculture & associated attributes.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i hoped you’d reply;)
            yes, i am aware. and it makes my comment problematic, and i realised it as i was writing it.
            but as far as an OPPRESSED sexual minority goes, i don’t believe that. although fetish and sexual subcultures are often manifestations of desire and drive, i do not think at a basal level that makes them equivalent to orientation, although i think they have certain parallels.
            something i see as problematic, is the seemingly new found acceptance of BDSM into mainstream culture complicated with a male-focused, male dominated sexual preference.
            this is more what i was referring to, the intersection of mainstream culture and supposed subversive culture. i also think because power and domination (consensual obviously) are such a big part of BDSM, that it is more of a socio-sexual practice rather than a biological one. could be wrong, and it’s far from my area of expertise, although i do find it interesting for its complicated interactions w/ queer/women’s studies.

          • gelikeasics

            boom. people rant at me all the time how sexual practices have been around thousands of years, to which I usually remark on the deliverance it has wrought upon our lives (none). indulgence is not the answer I say to them, to which they just shrug and keep on indulging as always….

      • Andrew

        Come on, women can be misogynist.

        • Jin The Ninja

          yes, but what value are they co opting from mainstream culture? misogyny doesn’t originate with women, although they often perpetuate it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647058614 Will Coles

    This is the problem with the modern ‘context is everything’ disclaimer. If you don’t know anything about the artist then, where the work has a supposed message, nothing can be known, everything can be guessed & most of that can be wrong!

    It’s just that he got into a subject probably two decades before anyone else tackled it. To label him a misogynist without knowing his reason for making these sculptures is simplistic in the extreme. They prompt discussion but that was definitely not the only or main reason for him making them.

    He obviously got off on the imagery but then most men get off on imagery of semi-naked women, there’s absolutely nothing strange or wrong about that! I’m pretty sure he was exploring the idea of the sexual fetishing of women to furniture status, where they become objects for straight men to project their fantasies onto, that their fantasy is of a ‘Stepford Wife’, docile & easy to manipulate.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Of course, if you want to see the real deal, there’s always House of Gord.

    Definitely Not Safe for Work.

    http://media.houseofgord.com/previews/0890/MG-CA-010_t.jpg