“Scandal of Pleasure” author on UW-Green Bay Campus

by David A. Sear

As part of our mission of community support and outreach, the NE Chapter provided financial support for the guest lecturer visit of Wendy Steiner, English Professor of the University of Pennsylvania, to the UW-Green Bay Campus on April 13th. Dr. Steiner is the founding director of the Penn Humanities Forum and her book, “The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism” (Chicago, 1996) was on the New York Times list of “100 Best Books of 1996.”

A morning discussion panel “Scandal of Pleasure/Axis of Evil”, discussed issues of censorship. Joining Dr. Steiner were Humanistic Studies Professor Derek Jeffreys, Art Professor Carol Emmons, and Curator of Art Dr. Stephen Perkins. This topic on campus is still quite poignant, as an artwork titled “Patriot Act” by Chicago based artist Al Brandtner was censored by UWGB Chancellor Bruce Shepard from the “Axis of Evil” exhibition in the Lawton Gallery held in September 2005.

Her evening lecture, “The Model in the Mirror of Art” traced the role of figure models used in art. Exploring the reciprocal relationship between the model and artist, she began with Michelangelo’s iconic images from the Sistine Chapel, “Creation of Adam” and “Creation of Eve”. Moving through to the period of Modernism, which ultimately resulted in the destruction of the model inspired format, Dr. Steiner closed her lecture with the model’s reinvention by contemporary artists. The work of Duchamp and Picasso were used as key examples from the Modernist period, and living artists Cindy Sherman and the husband-and-wife team of Chadwick Gray and Laura Spector were but a few cited from contemporary artists.