Allen Jones, Curious Woman, 1965, oil, plaster, and epoxy resin on wood, approx. 48 × 40 × 7 7/8".


Allen Jones

Royal Academy of Arts | Piccadilly
Burlington House, Piccadilly
November 13, 2014–January 25, 2015

Curated by Edith Devaney

Some may feel that Allen Jones’s iconic 1969 sculptures of white women in black bondage gear, assigned such baldly objectifying titles as Hat Stand, Table, and Chair, should have met their end years ago. Yet this fall, London’s Royal Academy gives their maker a rare full-dress retrospective, contextualizing these works alongside the English artist’s paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs. Having emerged in the 1960s with the second wave of British Pop (think Blake, Boshier, Boty, Hockney), Jones quickly claimed the sexualized female figure as his rubric, often pairing it with elements of domesticity and design—prints, for example, featuring high-heeled legs atop patterned grounds—to point to the fetishistic qualities inherent in consumer forms. Indeed, Jones’s work is too creepy (almost Bellmerian) to be simply written off as complicit. If anything, viewers of this show will be compelled to rethink exactly how the social continues to inscribe bodies today.