Linda Stirling Unmasked: The Black Whip

: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.



Stalags: A Documentary

Written & Directed by Ari Libsker

Stalags is named for the German prison camps in which they were set, the "stalags" were soft-core s&m porn in which downed U.S. or British pilots were abused by lustful, bodacious "female SS brutes," ultimately repaying their tormentors in kind.

There is a great deal to be said about War, and Sex and S&M, even in this country of the free and the beautiful but I want to focus attention on the artistic nature of this documentary.

Kara Walker caused an overwhelming artistic success with her work My complement, My enemy, My oppressor. My Love which took up the space of an entire floor of the Whitney Museum last October.

It was an artist rendering through silhouette type figures of explicit sexual acts that occurred throughout the South before Slavery was abolished.

The emotional impact seemed to be heightened by the black and white artist work rather than diminished because it was not true to life human forms.

The documentary Statags, shows the art work of a a Jewish woman who scandalized the religious and political isreal/jewish community in the 1960’s. she used the same silhoutte method to depict violence done to women. This is not to say, either Kara Walker or Rachel Frank’s work is less than magnificent as much as to point out the past neglect of women’s art because women do not live in the same world experientially as their male counterpart. And it is the men who determine whose art is brought to the fore and whose art stays in the “Funeral Home’ of one’s personal space.,

It is not true(as stated in the documentary) that men have taken up where Rachel Frank left off. Kara Walker has, without mentioning Rachel Frank by name. She has, taken up the mantel of showing the women’s explicit sexual physical and psychological world.

While seeing this documentary one cannot help but be impressed with how different the world is for woman than for men.

Another example of pain in art is that of Freda Kalo who seemed physically and visibly linked to her husband Diego Rivera, as she watched him be the famous, the renowned artist while she quietly conveyed through art the incredibly painful world in which she lived.

It is difficult to separate out the rejection of these women’s artist achievements because Sex and women seem to be so entwined that the explicitness of the sexual images seem to dictate the public reaction to the work. Take this review from the New York Times on Kara Walker.

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
on view October 11, 2007-February 3, 2008

"Ms. Walker's style is magnetic...Brilliant is the word for it, and the brilliance grows over the survey's decade-plus span. And then there is the theme: race. It dominates everything, yet within it Ms. Walker finds a chaos of contradictory ideas and emotions." - The New York Times

The word Sex is not used and yet it is the explicit sexual images that stay with me even now, well after the exhibit has left the Whitney Museum The same is true in this documentary, it is the sexual images that you will never forget.

I recommend Stalags for its beautiful artistic images and for its statement on art and sex from a women’s perceptive. and to applaud Ari Libsker, a man, for bringing the details of this post war scandal into the light o four every day knowledge.

Linda Z
WBAI Women’s Collective


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