Gentlemen's Club - The Girlie Show

8:00 AM

Gentlemen’s Club
Courtesans and Seductresses Depicted in Art
Curated by Gabbi Fenaroli

Edward Hopper, The Girlie Show, 1941
“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men"
-Joseph Conrad

Edward Hopper usually associates himself with serene city scenes or cramped quarters in lonely rooms. Nudes are not in his usual repertoire. However, in The Girlie Show, painted in 1941, explores Hopper’s travels to the West in the 1940s. The piece is not meant to seduce the viewer, Hopper is simply doing what he does best: painting what he sees. The art of burlesque dates back to 16th century. Over time culture and society has changed the ideas behind burlesque, but the principle remains the same. The act is meant to be humorous and provide a good show for the audience. American burlesque sets itself apart by having minimal clothing or even sometimes even no clothing, sexually suggestive dancing, quick-witted humor and a series of short routines and sketches.

The Girlie Show represents a form of American culture in the 1940s. Burlesque was meant to be harmless and fun a way to enjoy and gaze upon the female body. The performer shows off her body as though she was fully clothed. The dance does not represent a sexual desire of urges, it simply represents American entertainment.

This exhibit, Gentlemen’s Club, deals with the perception of women. The woman’s body holds the key to man’s hearts. With sex, she holds power. The art of being a seductress and the job of a courtesan leave woman with the upper hand. In the collection, all the women have one thing in common: they know what they want and they know how to get it.

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