From its title, “Oppression and Pleasure,” I expected the Pierre Menard Gallery’s current show of works by the feminist writer and artist Kate Millett to be heavy-duty, in-your-face and angry but was pleased to find, for the most part, colorful, simple brush-strokes that looked like Japanese characters, one to a painting. Perhaps I am slow, but it took me awhile to realize that each was a representation of female genitalia or other body parts.
I didn’t agree with one observer who found the work overly aggressive; to me, the paintings seemed lighthearted and whimsical–despite my interpretation of the title’s message that women’s sexuality can lead to both misery and joy.
I did wonder, however, if the two huge black and white close-up photographs of female sex organs (from which even the staunchest of men looked away) had been placed just over the food table to cut down on the demand for wine and chips.
The show, at 10 Arrow Street, in Cambridge, will be up through April 12.
New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, of Cambridge, MA.