Joan Miro: Woman


          I was lucky enough to see this sculpture a few times at the Fundacio Miro in Barcelona.  At the time, I remember thinking “oh, it’s a comment on women in Spain”:  All legs and sensuality and yet these malformed, pitiful, faces rising (or barely perched) on top.  

“I know women like that…I remember thinking.  It’s better to be an object of male lust than nothing, kind of like prostitutes.   Spanish machismo and insularity, the triumph of cultural values no matter how arbitrary or foolish, and the native ignorance and poverty of the human lot can clearly produce women like this. Despite my idealism, this is what shall remain long after I’m dead.”  And then,  rather self-satisfied, I strolled away.

Now, as I look again, I realize I have no idea what this sculpture means.   Are those two faces?  Strange little breasts?  Is that a spigot on top?  A man’s head and woman’s head?  Aren’t they kind of gender neutral?  What was I thinking, anyways?

Something about Miro makes me think he has thought long, judged deeply, and yet the colors are joyful, and there’s just this playfulness and achieved simplicity in his work that invites you right in and never really puts you out.

Addition:  Now that I”m a little older, and prostitution hovers between a comedy and a tragedy, I’m pretty sure the men who solicit prostitutes are just as responsible.  As for Miro, I still enjoy his work very much.

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