So there I was – sitting at dinner in New College, Cambridge, next to a
rather sophisticated museum-going lady from Chicago. She was sharing with
me her fury at the indignities suffered by women visiting art museums. As a
prime example, my dinner companion cited a sculpture of a nude, by Aristide
Maillol, standing at the head of the stairs at the Art Institute of Chicago.
What is a young girl to think about a nude torso, headless and armless,
intended to greet visitors to this great art museum? With its focus on the
crotch, this image of a maimed and helpless woman sends all the wrong