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Best Of 2018 – Leah Schrager’s play with the male gaze

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The Internet and social media have allowed a new generation of women artists to make their voices heard. Newspapers and magazines call them Tumblr stars, Instagram artists, or webcam princesses, while the net artists describe themselves as “reality artists” (Signe Pierce), “Instagram models” (Leah Schrager), or “online exhibitionists” (Molly Soda). They use smartphones, tablets, and computers to share their works and stream them live in social media, where the images and videos frequently become viral and then spread across the Internet. The exhibition entitled Women net artists 2.0, at Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig, Germany, explores the possibilities and restrictions of social media. It questions the female beauty ideals and gender stereotypes that have become standard in the attention economy of social media. The artists featured in the exhibition present a female perspective on sexuality, identity, and femininity in the digital age. Their materials are their own bodies, realities, and everyday lives; their stylistic devices are humor, irony, the grotesque, and hyperbole. Here Leah Schrager’s photographs play with the male gaze by ostensibly engaging in the art of seduction. […]

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