PRINT March 1994

Fresh Freud

THE BODIES ARE NAKED and displayed in odd poses, as though they were inherently odd “constructions,” or else arbitrary arrangements—as if Lucian Freud were reinforcing their “expressiveness” by giving their parts, and particularly their appendages, a disjointed, askew look. Where have we seen this before, if in a tamer, less contorted and conflicted—less modern—version? Where have we seen less poisonous, more gracious versions of these odalisques, which look like the victims of a strange mental accident caused by some hit-and-run part of the psyche? Laid out in the studio morgue, they wait for its autopsy. The loins are central—no doubt another modern touch, emblematic of modernity’s interest in sexuality without the sugarcoating of romance; “demystified,” purely anatomical sexuality. But however uninhibited, the loins—male and female—are always confined within the figure’s tightly closed

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