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Hernan Bas
The Great Barrier Wreath (detail)
Rubell Family Collection, Miami
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by Michèle C. Cone

Lolitas -- so called for Nabokovís famous novel featuring a nymphet who knows more about sex (with both female and male partners) than her pedophile seducer imagined possible in bourgeois America of the 1950s -- are all over the place in photographs and paintings. But the skinny long-legged flat-chested kid whose mix of awkwardness and grace Humbert Humbert found irresistible is more likely today to be a boy than a girl. A certain role reversal has taken place, as todayís Lolita looks ready to defend herself with a fierce glance and a gun if necessary, while her Lolito counterpart seems utterly defenseless and from a bookish other world.