The List‘s use of promotional
' material from Lee Friedlander‘s
exhibition of female nudes raises the question of where to draw the line between illustrating an article and exploiting women‘s bodies to sell the magazine. .
The photograph of a woman‘s naked, headless torso on page 1 of The List 161 was a cheap, gratuitous device to sell the magazine by
appealing to men‘s sexual fantasies.
l l l l l
I felt sick. intimidated and above all. betrayed by this. My feelings were re-inforced by the illustrations to Sue Wilson‘s article. I find it difficult to believe that a woman who writes from the perspective of women‘s liberation would have chosen these photos to illustrate her article. I notice that your editorial and design staffare all men.
The use of these photos re-enforces the attitude that women's bodies are there for men to use as they wish. This attitude has put my life in danger more than once. How dare The List perpetuate it?
Ms P. Smith Edinburgh.
Your coverage of Lee Friedlander‘s Nudes undermines both Friedlander‘s contribution to contemporary photographic practice and the work of Portfolio Gallery in building a serious audience for photography.
Having raised the cliche’d issue of ‘pornography‘ in your article (more from discussion of the book of the same title published by Jonathan Cape than the exhibition) you then create a sensationalist layout which would be more at home in The Sun than any intelligent magazine. Your tabloid approach to captioning and use of photographs. carried out under the guise of ‘arts journalism‘. effectively reduces what few ideas existed in the article to a basic dichotomy about art vs. pornography. The problem there is that you have effectively destroyed any platform for debate and discussion.
Had this been an exhibition of nudes by a gay or lesbian photographer. rather than an affirmed heterosexual. I am certain that your approach would have been rather more cautious. But sexism thrives, and you and your staff did not rise to the challenge of serious criticism of an important exhibition without resort to the kind of tactics employed by the tabloids to increase
This exhibition is having a short European tour after its opening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York this summer. with showings in London. Paris and Edinburgh. It is no credit to your type ofjournalism
Want to pick us up on some arcane, academic pomt concerning an item of absolutely no interest to anyone but yourself? Well forget it! This is the letters page to be seen to be published in. And just to prove it. we‘ll give a bottle ofJose Cuervo Tequila to the best letter we publish next issue.
that Edinburgh galleries continue to attract artists of the stature of Lee Friedlander.
Charlie don’t surt
The List 1605 account of punk in Scotland - ‘it barely existed apart from The Exploited( l)‘ — doesn‘t square with my memories. Ofcourse commercialism moved in, turning rebellion into money — but before that there were genuine sparks of revolt.
Paisley's Groucho Marxist Record Co-op put out records such as Perfect Pose‘s anti-militarist ‘Somebody Else‘s War‘. A particularly memorable GM disc with several Paisley punk bands featured ‘Lifted’ (‘This one‘s dedicated to the Paisley polis who lifted me and broke my nose.') The punk-polis clashes in Paisley at the time were vividly documented in the anarchist Paisley Gutter Press.
Aberdeen had a thriving punk scene with the ‘62 Club‘ hosting bands such as Crass, Poison Girls. Zounds and the local Toxik Ephex. Some punks participated in the dissident activities of the period such as the revolutionary contingents in anti-cuts marches and the attempted occupation ofTorness nuclear site.
[don’t know much about punk happenings in the rest of Scotland. but my record collection includes Stirling’s The Fakes‘ anti-wage slavery blast: ‘Production‘. 1984 from Strathaven lambasting the NME and all in ‘Music Press'. and the early Skids song ‘Charles‘. Edinburgh‘s Valves may have had long hair and been a bit ‘older' but they had the punk attitude and style in the andrNazi anthem ‘For Adolfs Only‘ and the heartfelt lament ‘Ain't No Surf ln Portobello‘.
The great thing about Paisley Punk was the ﬂowering of hundreds of local bands — anyone can do it — so trying to analyse Scottish punk through looking at semi-famous trends is rather to miss the point. As
forThe Exploited. when I saw them their anthem ‘Kill The Mods‘ didn't strike me as the high point ofpunk consciousness!
Dean Park Street
Full marks for remembering all those names. Seems like a bottle of the old Jose Cuervo is long overdue to implement an immediate cull ofthe brain cells.
Have you noticed how the Letters page correspondents tend to follow a simple formula? They have to be painfully right-on. completely humorless. and obsessed with insignificant detail. Anyway I‘d just like to point out that your Lee Friedlander spread was gross exploitation ofan entire gender. your so-called ‘Lisstake‘ on the Rainbow team‘s imminent unemployment a criminally insensitive insult to the proletarian jobless everywhere. and one of the black lines on page 6-1 is a bit crooked. Get your act together! Anyway. do I win or what'.’
Welcome back M r .V. Your concern for the Rainbow team is commendable. but hardly wort/1 a bottle 0 f Mexico 's finest. Next issue perhaps ?-()h, and we at the officefind that laying the magazine ﬂat tends to keep the lines straight.
Castles in the sky
You want an original and imaginative solution to the Scottish museum problem — I want a bottle of Tequila.
There should be two museums. one covering the centuries up to. say. 1800, based in Edinburgh and one the 19th and 20th centuries, based in
Glasgow. They should be all-encompassing. so fine art.
military artefacts. historical records,
industrial design. etc. are all displayed in relation to the contemporary social and political background — like the Musée d‘Orsay. with a much larger remit. Convert redundant industrial buildings for the Glasgow museum (a la Tramway) and use the present Chambers Street Museum for the Edinburgh collection. The Queen Street Museum and the building
opposite (what is that used for
anyway?) could take the
non-Scottish collections. with maybe
a separate Natural History museum established elsewhere if necessary— the redundant London Road Foundry building. perhaps.
As a project. surely this is much more exciting than the pathetic and expensive Chambers Street extension.
. Yours with whettedlips § John Warburton Easter Road
And we could have one football team!
Nice ideas but it sounds like you 've already been at the bevy.
A licence to print money
May I nominate the job ofconcert promoter to join the lists of ‘nice little earners‘ and ‘nice work ifyou
' can get it"? Not content with
charging outrageous booking fees and other ‘little‘ extras which all add up to a sizeable amount. they are now starting to open booking for
events over six months ahead.
‘So what‘." you might ask. ‘I can
; book my summer holidays around the Erasure concerts at The
Playhouse'. While that maybe relatively convenient for those who book up their filofaxes such a long time in advance. what about all that hard earned currency sitting in the promoters interest-earning account? With several thousand tickets costing at least 15 quid a throw that adds up to a tidy sum over six months. Besides. I might not even like Erasure in July next year. Jim Cairns
What about ( 'liffRic/zard at the $1211 ' next October.” Rumour has it he is walking to the gig.
Address your letters to:
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“The List 8— 21 November 1991
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