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Posted by on Mar 30, 2006 in At TMV | 12 comments

Britney’s pro-life birth sculpture

Sign of the Apocalypse #29 at The Reaction.

This is Britney. Britney Spears. On a bearskin rug. Giving birth to Baby Federline. As sculpted by Daniel Edwards. According to the Post, this piece of “art” will soon be on display at Brooklyn’s Capla Kesting Fine Art gallery. Next to “anti-abortion materials” as part of an exhibit called “Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston”. Yes, that’s right. This piece of “art” comes with a pro-life message, allegedly a non-political one. Birth = life. Or so says Mr. Edwards. But it obviously is political. Abortion is political. And what we have here is the image — dare I say it, a quasi-pornographic image — of Britney giving birth within the context of a pro-life, anti-abortion protest. Dress it up all you want. That’s what it is.

Make of it what you will. There is something profoundly beautiful about the human form. And about a woman giving birth. Yet this piece of “art” seems rather tasteless, rather kitschy. And using it to express a political message makes it all the more ugly. Is it a Sign of the Apocalypse? Put all the elements together — a pop star on the decline, a culture of trash, humorously vulgar “art” (why the bearskin?), and a contrived political message — and I’m sure that it is.

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  • merlallen

    I wonder what it looks like from the back?

  • John Carter

    From what I’ve heard, the back shows the baby’s head (oh, I think I just hurled a little in my throat). Thing is, the position she’s in is not exactly a prime position for giving birth, is it? So the whole thing just seems weird in a really creepy kind of way.

  • Really? The baby’s head? Yeeks.

    Now, this may be wrong, but I’ve heard that it’s possible to give birth on all fours, that it’s actually a fairly comfortable way of doing it. But, uh, the position Britney’s in looks rather sexual, doesn’t it? Surely that would be an immoderate way of giving birth.

  • Dennis Raines

    Ah, it’s times like these I’m glad I have 2 art degrees….

    In teaching a class the first thing I would get to would have been the “non-political” pro-life message, then the creepy sex/birth pose, etc. Then I would have said something along the lines of “I hear what you’re saying and see what you did, and those don’t fit.”

    Koon’s Michael Jackson and Bubbles still my fav bizzare contemporary sculpture. At least that didn’t have a head coming out of anything.

    …oh and ONLY #29?!

  • John Carter

    So has anyone heard if Brittany approves or perhaps even posed for this?

  • To answer above comment, some account I read of the statue has the artist saying he never met Britney and did it from pictures. I think the Britney spokesperson “had do comment” or “did not return calls” or something.

    I do wonder exactly where the legal lines are here. If someone wanted to create some gross sculpture of me and stick it in a museum, do I have any legal rights on the matter? This is particularly interesting as in my academic field we have entire codes and committees designed to protect the abuse and dignity of participants in research of any kind. We must gain written permission from you to record your voice and then we go through procedures to make them anonymous. Assuming academic research has as much right to exist as this sculpture…. I don’t know the answer here.

  • Mike Heinz

    Wow. What ignorance. Among you *and* the sculptor.

    First, the position the sculpture is in is perfectly natural despite what you lechers might think.

    Second, if I was Britney Spears and someone sculpted me giving childbirth in *any* position without my permission, I’d sue his chisel off.

  • Quasi-pornographic? Grow up, prude. And it doesn’t even look like Britney. My first thought was Helen Hunt.

  • As someone who’s been through two rounds of natural childbirth classes and is very shortly about to coach his wife through birth #2, I can say that an all-fours laboring position is fine and may be comfortable. But actually delivering on all-fours in this particular position, while possible, would be very uncomfortable for the woman pushing. You’re fighting gravity, after all. Now, put the woman’s head and belly above her pelvis so gravity helps, and you’ve got a delivery position that’ll work. But this head down position would not be ideal in any sense of the word.

  • I’m not sure how prudish it is to say that something is “quasi-pornographic,” Greg. Perhaps I love things that are “quasi-pornographic”.

    And even if this position, Mike, is “perfectly natural,” which I’ve been told that it is, is that what really comes to mind when you see this?

  • Mike Heinz

    The fact is, Mike, the problem here is your own inability to see past your hormones. Having been present for the birth of both my children, no, sex, was not the first thing that came to mind when I saw this – and for the same reason it doesn’t upset me when women breast feed in public. A woman’s body has purposes other than a man’s entertainment and a mature mind realizes this.

    *In addition* to that issue is the issue of the artist trying to leverage Britney Spears’ fame for his own aggrandizement – as I said before, if I were her, I’d sic the dogs on him.

  • moulinrouged

    Well,it seems to me that it’s time for a Woman Who Has Given Birth Twice to step in and give you fellas a helping hand.

    About birthing positions:The only unnatural position is missionary,at least to give birth in. It’s a personal choice and until it comes right down to the moment of truth,even the laboring woman isn’t sure what position she will assume.

    No,this is not a realistic representation of a woman,Britney or not,giving birth. It is indeed meant to look sexual,as in pornographic. Here’s what gives it away:

    The bearskin rug with a roaring mouth shows up in a number of pin-up art works. It is intended to represent a man under a woman’s sexual power or at least he’s having an open mouth,roaring orgasm.

    “Britney’s” pointed toes and lifted feet are a couple of the physical signs of orgasm;so is the exaggerated sway of her back and raised ass (lordosis). There is a myth that some women have orgasms during the labor and/or delivery of her baby. It certainly can appear that way—as we all know,myths are mythic because they contain a grain of truth—but no,it doesn’t happen in the real world. This is a doggy-style fuck-me pose that Mr. Edwards came up with,perhaps after veiwing some photos of women in labor soon after or while looking at porn. Yeh,in certain ways,a laboring woman can look totally turned on and ready to be mounted. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    This sculpture is Mr. Edwards’ fantasy of women being good for only one thing and it isn’t giving birth or being a mother. I like to think of myself as open-minded but this sculpture offends me. There is something repugnant to me about perceiving a woman as a sexual plaything,no matter what she might actually be doing,such as giving birth. It’s the depersonalisation that bothers me….After all,women have 5 biological functions (you guys have 1) and as biological functions,they are therefore sexual;laboring and giving birth are 2 of them. Mr. Edwards has turned a compelling,primal,sexual moment in the life cycle of a woman into an ugly joke,a visual pun. His spin is so sordid,it appalls me.

    I’d love to sit his ass down ask him what was he thinking,what was his motivation,what ‘inspired’ him. I think he would spout a lot of bullshit—I’ve read some his remarks—all the while secretly wondering just how far can he push women (and men) into agreeing that there is something artistic about this piece of sculpture. He’s like a little boy who has finally understood what a dirty joke ‘really’ means. Brrrrrr. Or an immature male that has finally,FINALLY gotten laid and has to tell everyone about it,so everyone will know that He Is Now A Man.

    I’m sure some highbrow somewhere can bullshit about the aesthetics of the piece—no pun intended—but I think that there is more of a desire for shock value than artistic aspirations. It also gives us a disturbing glimpse into Mr. Edwards’ sexuality.

    It isn’t art,it’s obscenity because Mr. Edwards can’t see the beauty in womanhood/motherhood. It scares him so he twists it into a grotesque display. This is what you get from a guy that saw porn when he was way to young to understand it but he got turned on by the dirty forbidden pictures of women as sordid,sexual beasts. I have often wondered:What sort of culture is developing,with very young people going online and finding a vast array of human sexual behavior filtered though male sexual fantasies (pornography)not only available but thrown at them,when they are too young to understand what they are seeing,too young to realise that porn lacks emotional depth and has only a superficial relationship to reality.

    To put it bluntly,it’s misogynistic. There’s no way to dress it up—-people will try but they will fail. This isn’t art. This is hatred and fear of women and their messy animal bodies. It isn’t ‘pro-life’;Mr Edwards is trying to dress up his hatred and fear to see who will buy into his agenda. He’s really a sad,twisted little escuse for a man. I feel sorry for any woman who has a sexual relationaship with him. God forbid she dare to get pregnant and give birth—-like Elvis,he will never be able to have sex with such a creature again… KFed,he will never be able to have a relationship with a woman that is about anything more than doin’ it doggy-style….I think Mr. Edwards is a too-young porn freak all grown up. He is a product of his time;so his his work. It’s really spooky.

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