Quote of the Day: Christopher Knight
The "7 Year Itch" scene is brilliant because Billy Wilder knew to not look up MM's skirt, letting the audience experience the title's "itch." Seward Johnson was a terrible artist cause he thought the exploitation of letting you stare up her skirt would be *fun*. Ugh.
It's possible that Johnson's statue is making the argument that symbolic exchange can take place under Marilyn’s skirt even in the presence of “nothing". As such, it’s the statue that understands The Seven Year Itch better than the prudish Knight.
In short, Knight is wrong to suggest that Wilder chose not to show us a glimpse under Marilyn's skirt, that it's pure spectacle or indeterminate attraction that Wilder was intentionally seeking with the image of Marilyn’s skirt blowing. The truth of the matter is that Wilder thought the most perverse thing about his film is that he could NOT fully show us what was under Marilyn’s skirt — basically, that he could not make a film in which the husband physically consummated the affair. That is why Wilder regretted making the film, because in the end the film was about “nothing" (more any-space-whatever than narrative). The apparent deferral or indeterminacy of satisfaction was not intentional or admirable; it was regretful.
The Marilyn statue does not express the same regrets. Rather, without any apparent irony, it seeks to transform the “nothing" (the any-space-whatever of spectacle) into a site for symbolic exchange (e.g., gathering, taking selfies, wasting time, tourism). I guess it’s too much to expect the art critic for the LA Times to know just a little about Wilder’s own thoughts on the film and to look up the various interpretations of the scene (spectacle vs. narrative).
Is there no end to Christopher Knight's foolishness?
Try a little harder next time with your pseudo intellectualisms masking ever so thinly veiled jealousies of Knight’s clearly superior insights and intellect you silly philistine.
Knight won a PP for defending the encyclopedic museum as a beneficial invention of the Enlightenment. Here's the shame: It's NOT true.
A jury of his peers might have been fooled. But an Oxford archaeologist (Dan Hicks) knew better. In his recent book, Brutish Museums, Hicks excavates the concept of the encyclopedic museum, showing how it is a big lie, a fiction, a meta-narrative concocted in the 1980’s to justify keeping objects that were looted. In fact, according to Hicks, falsely tracing the roots of the concept back to the Enlightenment is all part of the ruse.
Here is an interview with Dan Hicks about the book:
As to my Wilder argument, "looking up Marilyn's skirt" is a METAPHOR. I did NOT literally mean that Wilder wanted to show what was under her skirt. It is a METAPHOR for what the film could NOT show, specifically a physical affair between the husband and the Monroe character.
The key word in the Wilder quote is "nothing." "Nothing" is the stuff of what Deleuze in his Cinema books categorized as "any-space-whatevers," roughly speaking the place where "nothing" happens --- for example a place of transit or a sidewalk (standing on top of a subway grate).
Though films have been made about "nothing," Wilder was a director who created "action-images," roughly speaking that's Deleuze's term for films that tell stories. As such, Wilder correctly intuited what was wrong with the image of Marilyn standing over the grate. It was NOT followed by the necessary action.
Johnson's statue tries to make something out of "nothing". In short, what seems crass to you and Knight might be a witty homage to Wilder's film. The statue's insight may even go deeper than that, given the positioning of that "nothing." Here I am thinking of Lacan's Seminar on The Purloined Letter.