Photo: On Beauty. Copyright, Jenny Boot
Introductory text in Jenny's book ' On Beauty'.
In curating this work for the exhibition Modest Fashion: an international phenomenon in art & fashion, the choice was made intuitively.
Dutch iconic artists like Johannes Vermeer, have traditionally been known for capturing form, light and emotion, without needing anything but their craft, their subject and light.
In the reinvention of Vermeer in contemporary times, it therefore makes sense that Jenny Boot is the brilliant creator of the stunning work: Black Girl with Pearl.
We live in a time when museums are becoming aware of what justice means, what care and reciprocity mean, what a welcoming space could mean, and how "white cubes" and "black boxes" can become caring and healing spaces, for both -living- artists and also communities, who are constantly seeking meaning and reflection. In 2020/21, only 12% of art in Dutch museums is still made by women. We are thirsty for Jenny's work and from her colleagues and students.
Then there is also a beautiful opening to enrich the artistic canon, to let go of colonial and imperialist views and their echoes, so that artistic space anywhere in the world can become a place, where ethics are applied. A space where women no longer work on the margins, but the question of who is a modern muse and who makes art can be answered with a plethora of women artists and their muses at the center, in all their diversity, richness, colorfulness and complexity.
The dualities of modern times;-on beauty- polarities are reinforced by old and eroded institutions, who are searching for new meaning and relevance. All over the world, art institutions are being challenged and called to take responsibility; the end of patriarchy is being heralded, as well as classicism, racism and its iconographies... in art, in media and cultural expression, in collections, in their meccas and in academia.
And so this work by Jenny Boot, Black "Girl with Pearl, I hold dear, because it embodies how beauty, the artist and her muse are universal and relatable. This timelessly stunning work offers solace, consolation, hope and pride.
In art we can find what reality may refuse, neglect or ignore. Artists like Jenny Boot normalize beauty and give museums, collectors and the artistic canon a new narrative in which to see, appreciate and celebrate beauty, artist and muse.
Rajae El Mouhandiz - 14.10.2020