Modigliani and His Hot Models
Royal Academy 20 July 2006
We made our way into London, painlessly air conditioned on this hot day. We were on our way to see the hot Royal Academy show “Modigliani and His Hot Models” We had learnt from Mark Kermode on the BBC Newsnight Review panel that Modigliani had a “pornographers gaze” and the other panellists agreed. They nodded.
Today, Piccadilly had many underdressed ladies promenading I tried to avoid gazing “pornographically ”, but whenever we passed an underdressed lady, Mrs Monk would put me in my place.
“You wouldn’t know what to do with her”, she would say.
There were 8 Modigliani nudes out of 50 Modigliani paintings in the exhibition and naturally I found myself wondering about what the critics had said. I am prepared to accept that Modigliani was something of a misogynist since much of what he got up to has been recorded contemporaneously., but I am troubled that these critics are so keen to point at his work as if it supported this point of view. Even Laura Cumming has referred to Modigliani’s depiction of “pubic patches”, as if he were engaged in the production of something more salacious than an Amish Quilt.
The problem with Modigliani is that he is hopelessly mannered. Mrs Monk made an off-the-wall comparison with the tacky Scottish painter with an Italian name, Jack Vettriano, and I concur.
We returned to the car and where we found a number of policeman closing off Piccadilly. Mrs Monk approached this motor cycle policeman dressed in leather. He explained that a rally of motor cars was about to appear. Mrs Monk took this picture. I told the policeman that she was into fetish clothing.
We got into the car and prepared ourselves for the inevitable traffic jam ironically induced by a celebration of the “motor car”
Thinking of the policeman, I told Mrs Monk, “You wouldn’t know what to do with him”
We were hot, but some of those critics have one track minds...