Allen Jones At The Royal Academy: Sexism Or Sensationalism?
Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The artwork of Allen Jones is still controversial today — viewed by some as misogynistic, defended by others as highlighting the treatment of women as objects in a patriarchal society. We however suspect Jones would rather just be seen as an artist who admires the female form.
The more famous controversial works will undoubtedly get the most attention: semi-naked women dressed in fetishistic attire posed variously as a hat stand, on all fours as a table, and as a chair with legs up forming the backrest — the latter having been famously attacked by a feminist campaigner with paint stripper back in 1986.
Though these works still divide people, this exhibition sets out to show Jones's full range of paintings and sculptures. His painting styles include darker abstract figures and large bright sensual works featuring many couples embracing, with the flowing lines creating a dream-like impression. The difficulty with these works is that we struggle to find a deeper substance to them and they pale when compared to truly great figurative painters like Picasso or Francis Bacon.
His sculptures have a similar style over substance feel to them as well, with his gracefully posed nudes and a representation of Kate Moss feeling flat. Jones is obsessed with the female form and this is evident in almost all his works here, representing a career that spans over 50 years.
If the controversy of his work is set aside then we're left with a portfolio of work that's rather one-dimensional and superficial. There is an aesthetic beauty to some of his art but anyone searching for anything deeper within will leave disappointed, as we did.
Allen Jones RA is on at Royal Academy of Arts from 13 November until 25 January 2015. Tickets are £10 for adults, concessions available.
Last Updated 12 November 2014