A bathrobe clad golden Weinstein, sitting on a couch with an Oscar in his hand, made its debut on a sidewalk recently in Los Angeles. The street artwork titled “Casting Couch” is a collaborative work of a Los Angeles street artist known as Plastic Jesus and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe.
In his post on Facebook, Plastic Jesus said, “Whilst many thought the ‘casting couch’ was a thing of the past, it was clearly still a part of the Hollywood culture. For many years the exploitation of many hopefuls and established names in the industry was brushed under the carpet with their complaints of harassment and sexual abuse being ignore (sic) or worse. Hopefully now in the light of recent allegations against many leading figures in Hollywood the industry will clean up it’s (sic) act.”
The installation calls out sexual harassment of women in Hollywood, gross abuse of power by men in the industry and how these things get covered up.
Its setting is the classic bathrobe wearing man on an inviting couch, which is both creepy and subversive. The bathrobe tries hopelessly to cover up Harvey Weinstein. While an empty space beside him invites people to sit and experience the discomfort many women have felt, in a passing.
The choice to colour it golden may be an indication of Weinstein‘s wealth and status. It can also be a symbol which whips up excess and vulgarity together. Another unmissable object is the Oscar replica, which the statue is clutching in his hand. Could it be a symbol of his grip over the film fraternity, or just a way to call out all those who chose to celebrate his work, despite hush-hush allegations?
Does it give a new face to how people view sexual harassment, or just a crude tasteless joke?
Art is not just a reflection of the society we live in, or that of an artist’s mind. It also mirrors our individual thoughts and approach. Every person interprets a piece of art in his or her own way.
Street art is giving a new dimension to Women’s Issues
Just last March, a statue of a fearless girl facing off with Charging Bull near Wall Street made headlines across the world. While some thought it was a symbol of feminist strength, many discredited the statue as a corporate strategy. Fearless Girl, to me was a prophecy, of what was to come. A standoff between women, whom many perceive to be delicate and submissive, with the mighty and powerful bulls of this world.
Street art installations like these are thus giving a visual dimension to Feminism, one which is obvious and lucid.
They are out on the streets for everyone to see and interpret according to their sensibilities. So with Oscars, so close, “Casting Couch” raises the anticipation on how the world’s most popular award ceremony is going to address the issue which is burning the industry to its very core.
Photo Credit : CBC
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own