Monday, September 30, 2013

Balthus @ the Gagosian & the MET: Art or Teen Pornography?

I went to the Gagosian's new ground floor-gallery on 76th and Madison avenue this past Friday to see the Balthus: The Last Studies exhibit. The exhibition displayed a series of little-known Polaroids that Balthus took of Anna Whali, who was the youngest daughter of Balthus' physician. Balthus started photographing Anna when she was eight-years-old.

Anna was topless in most of the Polaroids, and the exhibit reminds me of the subjective nature of the United States child pornography laws. For example, Balthus and David Hamilton are considered artists, but photographer Donald Raymond Croft II was charged with child pornography in 2012 for his photographs of nude nymphets.  

From Vanity Fair (October 2013)
BALTHUS Untitled, c. 1999–2000 at the Gagosian

On Saturday I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) to see Balthus Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations and once again the lines were blurred between art and nymphet pornography. For example, Balthus' pre-teen neighbor, Thérèse Blanchard, is posing provocatively in a number of the paintings in the exhibit

BALTHUS Girl and Cat (1937) at the MET

However, there is at least one Balthus that even the Gagosian or the MET won't touch and that is Balthus' Guitar Lesson. According to New York magazine, the Guitar Lesson debuted in Paris in 1934 in an backroom exhibit that lasted for fifteen days. Then in 1977, the painting was exhibited for a month in Pierre Matisse’s mid-town Manhattan art gallery. From 1977 to 1982, it sat in the storage area of the Museum of Modern Art. And after being exchanged between buyers over the years, it landed in the possession of multi-billionaire Stavros Niarchos. 

Guitar Lesson (1934)

Update 03/23/14: The Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany has cancelled the “Balthus: the Last Pictures” exhibit that was scheduled to open next month. More details can be found here.

Balthus' Polaroids via Purple Magazine

Update 3/20/16: Purple magazine published "Balthus Polariods" in the S/S 2016 issue 25. From Benoit Peverelli's presentation we learned that a few years after Balthus' death, thousands of documents were discovered in his Rossinière, Switzerland based studio at the Grand Chalet. Balthus found it difficult to draw due to his age which is why he switched to using a Polaroid camera to capture his nymphets. The Polaroids were used for Balthus' last six paintings - three of which were never finished. 

Balthus the Painter (1908-2001) [Documentary]:
Anna Whali Visits Balthus

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Charles Dickens' Teen Mistress Ellen Ternan

Here's IMDb's description for The Invisible Woman (2013):
At the height of his career, Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennesmeets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death.
The British film is based on 45-year-old Charles Dickens’ thirteen year affair with 18-year-old Ellen “Nelly’ Ternan, which began in 1857 when Ellen was an actress in a play that was produced by Dickens. 

In an effort to avoid tarnishing his image and to keep their age-gap affair a secret, Dickens purchased a house for Ternan close to London. On one of his secret visits, Dickens impregnated the nymphet, and they had a son that they hid, even further away, in France.

The British film was shown at the 51st New York Film Festival. And for more information, one could reference Claire Tomalin's paperback, The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jeffrey Epstein and Woody Allen: Ephebophiles of a Feather Flock Together

Jeffrey Epstein, Soon-Yi and Woody Allen. 

The Daily Mail reported that ephebophiles Jeffrey Epstein and Woody Allen were recently seen hugging, whispering, joking and laughing as they strolled to Epstein's $50 million Upper East Side of Manhattan town home. Allen's wife and former step-daughter, Soon-Yi, was in tow.

I wrote about Epstein and Allen in The Allure of Allure of Nymphets. I wrote that Epstein, who is also friends with former president Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew, was accused in a civil suit of the following allegations:

Epstein allegedly received three twelve-year-old French girls as a birthday present 

He had a fourteen-year-old “Balkan sex slave” that he procured from her family 
He had a fifteen-year-old sex toy named Virginia Roberts that he loaned to friends, and 
He paid forty, mostly underage girls, approximately $300 apiece to give him “messages” (i.e., hand jobs) at his home in Palm Beach

And after Mia Farrow found a nude picture of her adopted daughter, Soon Yi Previn, in Allen's bedroom that was taken some time before Soon Yi’s 19th birthday, Farrow and Allen got a divorce, and Allen famously married is former step-daughter.

Due to Epstein and Allen's fame and wealth, they could have, à la Hugh Hefner, a harem of legal 17-year-old nymphets. It's not clear why they've chosen to fulfill their natural desires precariously.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Famous Ephebophile: Ronald Reagan

Elizabeth Taylor                                 Ronald Reagan                                          Piper Laurie

I previously mentioned in a post that Elizabeth Taylor asserted in the book Elizabeth Taylor: There Is Nothing Like a Dame that when she was 15-years-old she "made out" with 36-year-old Ronald Reagan.

Taylor shared, “Reagan was treating me like a grown woman, and that thrilled me. We sat on his sofa and I could tell he wanted to get it on but he seemed reluctant to make the first move… [so] I became the aggressor.”

Piper Laurie revealed in her book, Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir, that five years after Taylor's fling with Reagan, the 41-year-old future president took her 16-year-old virginity.

Laurie wrote that after Reagan invited her to his dressing room and, "[...] flattered her with what she describes as fatherly advice [...] He discreetly took her up the back way to his apartment in the Hollywood Hills, crammed with furniture. He set a small table in the living room, lit candles, served her a glass of wine and cooked her a hamburger steak," before he took her virginity.

However, it appears that Reagan didn't know that Laurie was a virgin, because, "[...] he couldn’t understand why she didn’t have multiple orgasms [...]"

Interestingly, Reagan used some proven seduction techniques on the nymphets. Despite the fact that Taylor was only 15-years-old, he treated her like a woman. And on Piper he used what's called the Authority Frame, which is when the seducer takes on the role of an authority figure (e.g., father, mentor, etc.).

Vladimir Nabokov Almost Breaks Down Over 13-Year-Old

On my writer's blog, I wrote about Vladimir Nabokov's amazing work ethic and about how Nabokov worked for over 17 hours per day on the translation and commentary of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse. But what I didn't write about was the plot summary of Pushkin's famous piece.

In the book, Tatyana's love for 26-year-old Onegin is unrequited; however, after a number of years pass, Onegin sees Tatyana at a party and the roles reverse. Now Onegin's love for Tatyana is unrequited.

There's some debate about Tatyana's age. Everyone is in agreement that Tatyana was a teen, but some have come to the conclusion that she was merely 13-years-old. The blog Russian Dogs relates evidence from the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda to support this view.

For example, in Chapter Four Pushkin writes:

To listen to the same tedious objections, Do battle with rooted convictions,
Such as never were and never have been
Even in a young girl who's just thirteen.

Thus, it appears that Tatyana was a 13-year-old  teleiophile. And her age may help explain why Nabokov almost had a nervous "breakdownwhile translating the novel in verse. 

Interestingly, Tatyana's character is often played by actresses who are not in their teens. For example, in the film Onegin (1999), Tatyana's character was played by 22-year-old Liv Tyler. And in the opera that is currently playing here in New York at the Lincoln Center's Metropolitan Opera House, Tatyana is being played by Anna Netrebko who is a whopping 43-years-old!

Friday, September 13, 2013

THE ADOLESCENT (1979): A Fearless French Nymphet's Unrequited Love

Here's JHailey's IMDb plot summary for The Adolescent (1979) [French: L'adolescente]:

The summer of 1939. Marie, at 13, goes with her parents to visit her grandmother in a small town near Avignon. Although rumors of war reach the countryside, it's an idyllic place. Marie's parents are constantly making love. Surrounded by sexual frankness, Marie fancies herself a woman and develops a crush on Alexander, the town's [...] Jewish doctor. She's despondent when he treats her as if she were a child [...]

Like is mentioned in the plot summary, in The Adolescent (1979), after 13-year-old Marie and her parents visit her grandmother in rural France, she falls in love with Alexander, the town's 30-year-old physician, but despite the temptation, Marie's love is unrequited.

13-year-old Marie: "I love you."
30-year-old Alexander: "You're just a little girl."
Marie: "I'm grown up! You're scared. I'm not scared."

The Adolescent (1979) is similar to Beau-père (1981), but in Beau-père, Rémi (Patrick Dewaere), a 30-year-old pianist, has an affair with Marion (Ariel Besse), his 14-year-old orphaned stepdaughter after she pleads and convinces him that she's,"[...] a fourteen-year-old woman in perfect working order [...]" 

Interestingly, Marie's and Marion's claims of womanhood would have been considered true prior to the The Renaissance and the invention of the printing press when there was no distinction between children and adults. And even up until the Great Depression, many children worked along side adults and weren't sequestered until they matured. 

 The Adolescent (1979) (1979) [French: L'adolescente] 
Video Excerpt

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Student-Teacher Affair Novels

Student-Teacher Affair Novels
All fiction dealing with student-teacher affairs and romantic relationships.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Famous Ephebophile: Author J.D. Salinger

I wrote about J.D. Salinger's affair with 19-year-old Joyce Maynard in The Allure of Nymphets, but I didn't know the extent of the famous author's ephebophilia until I read the review in The Village Voice of Salinger (2013), the documentary about the author's life.

The review mentioned that Salinger was "[...] enraged that Charlie Chaplin, well past 50, once stole his girlfriend." The girlfriend the article is referring to is Oona O'Neill, the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill. 

Salinger's affair started when O'Neill was 16-years-old, but ended after the Pearl Harbor attack and Salinger joined the Army. After which, O'Neill moved from New York City to Los Angeles and married 55-year-old Charlie Chaplin. 

Oona O'Neill and Charlie Chaplin

According to New York magazine, after Salinger finished his stint in the military and moved to Cornish, New Hampshire, he [boldly] started entertaining high school girls and openly "escorted teenage girls to school dances and sporting events." 

Those exploits lead Salinger to meet 19-year-old Radcliffe preppy Claire Douglas. Salinger and Douglas eventually married and had two children. The marriage lasted a little over a decade until Douglas filed for divorce after Salinger continued to lock himself in his writing studio for over 14 days at a time.

Claire Douglas

Salinger was so impressed by Joyce Maynard's "An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back On Life" article in the April 23, 1972  issue of The New York Times Magazine that he mailed her a letter. After they wrote each other approximately 25 letters, Maynard visited Salinger in New Hampshire, withdrew from Yale and moved in with the author.

But the affair ended after approximately ten months, because, per MaynardSalinger opined that she was “shallow”, “worthless”, “corrupted”, “worldly”, “greedy”, and “hungry” for (writing) fame. In addition, despite a number of failed treatments, Joyce suffered from severe “tightness of the muscles surrounding the vagina” and, consequently, could only perform oral sex on Salinger.

Maynard shared that after they left a doctor’s office for the last time: “Jerry Salinger put those fifty-dollar bills in my hand and told me to clear my things out of his house [...]”

Joyce Maynard

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Famous Ephebophile: Poet Frederick Seidel

Poet Frederick Seidel

I wrote in The Allure of Nymphets that according Wyatt Mason of the New York Times, a favorite subject of poets for centuries has been man’s attraction to young women. Poet Frederick Seidel is no exception.

In Ooga-Booga (2006), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, was a Griffin Poetry Prize finalist, and a New York Times Book Review editor’s choice, Seidel wrote in the poem “Climbing Everest”:

But this young woman is young. We kiss.
It’s almost incest when it gets to this.
This is the consensual, national, metrosexual hunger-for-younger.
A naked woman my age is just a total nightmare.

In Poems 1959-2009 (2009), Seidel wrote in “Do You Doha?” about breast-less little girls that posed seductively:

DANDELIONS, VIOLETS, ROSES: Little girls in various poses.
Titless teases and their diseases.
Somehow I got a half-priced paperback copy of, Nice Weather (2012)Seidel's latest book of poetry, at Strand yesterday. According to Amazon and the girl at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, the paperback wasn't due out until the 10th. 

Keeping with his ephebophile ways, Seidel wrote in the first and last stanzas of "School Days" Pretending to Translate Sappho:

The mother of the woman I currently
Like to spank, I'm not kidding,
Was my girlfriend at Harvard.
The mother looked like a goddess
And as a matter of fact majored at Radcliffe in Greek

When I finally got the goddess 
Into my student bed,
The beauty of her nineteen-year-old body
Practically made me deaf, so loud
I leaked, My arrogant boy burst into tears. 

In the first stanza of  "Victory Parade" he wrote:

My girlfriend is a miracle.
She's so young but she's so beautiful.
So is her new bikini trim,
A waxed-to-neatness center strip of quim.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

WASHINGTON POST Op-Ed: Consensual Sex Between Teachers & Students Should Not Be Criminalized

Artist and writer Betsy Karasik has received a lot of backlash since her op-ed piece in The Washington Post was published last Friday [August 30, 2013].

In "The unintended consequences of laws addressing sex between teachers and students," Karasik argued that: "[...] our society needs to have an uncensored dialogue about the reality of sex in schools [...] I don’t believe that all sexual conduct between underage students and teachers should necessarily be classified as rape [...] consensual sexual activity between teachers and students should not be criminalized."

"When it comes to having sex on the brain, teenage boys got nothin’ on us. When I was growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, the sexual boundaries between teachers and students were much fuzzier. Throughout high school, college and law school, I knew students who had sexual relations with teachers. To the best of my knowledge, these situations were all consensual in every honest meaning of the word..."

I wrote in The Allure of Nymphets and on this blog about the plethora of teen novels, movies and television shows (e.g. Pretty Little Liars) that condone sexual relationships between teachers and students. Goodreads even has a list of almost 150 Student-Teacher Affair Novels - many of which have received favorable reviews.

However, thanks to feminists and despite the contradictory nature of the profession, teachers must avoid any sexual relationships with students.