Friday, July 28, 2006

Sunday at the beach in Chicago

Until Sunday, the Man Ray image of the woman as a cello was just another Twentieth Century work of art, on the fringes of my consciousness. I won't spoil the fun for my readers by explicitly enumerating its successes compositionally, narratively, socially and philosophically, but, trust me, it is extremely profound and certainly deserves a few moments of contemplation.

I was happily reminded of Man Ray's piece when, as I was reading at North Avenue Beach in Chicago last Sunday, I looked up from my book, and saw a young lady who had tattooed the marks* on her own back. What a delightful break from the tweeties and anime figures that adorn most other twentysomethings. Smiles of aesthetic recognition rippled among the art historians splayed out on the shoreline as she passed us by. Until that day, I had never seen a person whose looks were enhanced by a tattoo...

* (it seems vulgar to call them by their technical name, particularly because of the startling and surely unintentional resonance with Theodora's fervent desire for extra orifices, as described Procopius' Anecdota ix.18)

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