Continued from MAN’s first annual swimsuit issue post.
I have a confession to make: I have not actually seen the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The newsstand near me carries Cooks Illustrated, The Nation, Bookforum, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The New York Review of Books. It seems not to carry Sports Illustrated.
That said, I’d bet that out of the 4,923 pictures of girls in bathing costumes on SI’s website, one features a lithe young lady with a beach ball. (Readers?)
Ergo, from MoMA’s collection, here’s Roy Lichtenstein’s Girl with Ball (1961) and Pablo Picasso’s Bather with Beach Ball (1932). Obviously the Lichtenstein was informed by an art historical tradition of bathing beauties bouncing around the beach with a ball, but MoMA reveals a special poke-art-history-in-the-eye detail about where Lichtenstein found the image he used for his painting: an advertisement for a hotel in the Pocono Mountains.
The Picasso was plainly inspired by Sports Illustrated’s body-painting gallery, which features not swimsuits but, well, lithe lovelies ‘wearing’ body-paint. Marie-Therese is, you know, body-painted in the picture at left. (In a related story, somewhere Mark Klett is probably getting ideas about a possible next project…)
(Even better: The Sports Illustrated people are clearly post-modernists who seem to have been inspired by Lichtenstein’s use of something appropriated from pop culture: The body-painted-on swimsuits in their bodypainting photo spread are based on real swimsuits. )