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ON "PORTRAIT: TWO GIRLS IN A BED" BY JEREMY ERIC TENENBAUM

ON "PORTRAIT: TWO GIRLS IN A BED" BY JEREMY ERIC TENENBAUM

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Published by Adam Fieled
A discussion of American artist Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum's "Portrait: Two Girls in a Bed."
A discussion of American artist Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum's "Portrait: Two Girls in a Bed."

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Adam Fieled on Mar 06, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/06/2013

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On “Portrait: Two Girls in a Bed” by Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum
Shock, Sigmund Freud wrote, is the necessary precursor to orgasm. I do not rememberthe source text, or the context. It is interesting to consider the implications of this remark—why, if we grant Freud his premise, sharp and pungent sensations experienced by the brain canproduce correspondingly extreme physical reactions. One implication concerns art, whose taskit is to create and sustain sharp and pungent brain sensations, which can resound physically aswell. What could be more shockingly sharp, and pungent, than queerness doubled, then re-doubled ad infinitum? Here, in Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum’s “Portrait: Two Girls in a Bed,”queerness has the potentiality not only to signify lesbianism but the queer, as in the strange,the eerie, the noir, even (from the perspective of stability and standardized portraitureexpectations) the disconsolate. This is, to paraphrase Barthes, not a work of standardizedpleasure but of forceful (perhaps fearful), shock-inducing bliss. The foreplay it forces is towatch singles double and significations in general multiply (as questions self-generate, it is

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