T.J. Wilcox

Metro Pictures

The films in T. J. Wilcox’s recent show proposed an unlikely trio of heroines: Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, assassinated in 1898; Jackie O, widow of both John F. Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis; and Jerry Hall, supermodel and ex of Mick Jagger. The three may meet in glamour, but their respective sorts of glamour vary wildly, and my shorthand ID’s above—“assassinated,” “widow,” “ex of Mick Jagger”—suggest the women suffered differently too. Yet Wilcox manages to find in the biography of each of them some sympathetic strain that makes them parallel. A man who loves women, he has invented a cinematic way of treating them that instantly endears itself to the viewer, while at the same time neatly critiquing both the social constructions that might oppress them and the visual media through which those constructions are so often supported and enforced.

Wilcox’s films, which he has been showing in

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.