THE VARIETIES OF BODY
by Donald Kuspit
"Reconfiguring the Body in American Art, 1820-2009" -- a seemingly limitless survey of body imagery from the collection of the National Academy Museum -- reminds us that the body, whether male or female, clothed or unclothed, is a staple of art, and, however reconfigured, is hard to figure out. The abundance of works in every medium, the varieties of poses and situations in which the body is placed, suggests that there is no one correct way of perceiving it and placing it in space, being too much a space and place of its own to fit comfortably let alone seamlessly into surrounding space. The body has an esthetics of its own, and is its own medium, whatever estheticizing style is imposed on it by the artist.