Aphrodite and All the Lovers

“No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all there is in life, it seems to me. But I grant you, if you deny the variety of love you deny love altogether. If you try to specialize love into one set of accepted feelings, you wound the very soul of love. Love must be multi-form, else it is just tyranny, just death”

D.H. Lawrence

 
 

Still from the music video showing Kylie Minogue standing atop a pyramid of underwear-clad couples, which was inspired by the installations of American photographer Spencer Tunick.

 
 

All the Lovers is a song recorded by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue for her eleventh studio album Aphrodite (2010). One of the last songs to be recorded for the album, All the Lovers was written by Jim Eliot and Mima Stilwell and produced by the former. Stuart Price, the executive producer of Aphrodite, was responsible for additional production and mixing of the song. Minogue felt  All the Lovers summarized the “euphoria” of the album perfectly and chose it to be the lead single from Aphrodite.

 
 

 
 

An accompanying music video for “All the Lovers” was filmed in Downtown Los Angeles by Joseph Kahn, and features Minogue singing the song from atop a pyramid of underwear-clad couples. As the singer wanted to pay homage to her large gay audience, scenes of homosexual couples kissing were included in the video. Critical reception towards the video was favourable, with many critics enjoying its concept and imagery.

 
 

A QR code, said to produce the word “LOVE” when scanned, can be seen printed on various items in the beginning of the music video.

 
 

Writing for New York Press, film and music critic Armond White deeply analysed the music video and found the flash mob, which consists of a few homosexual couples, a representation of the historic 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. He also compared the video to two documentaries based on the riots. White commented that through the video, Kahn had corrected directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner‘s “blundering” in their 2010 documentary of the riots. The critic said that Davis and Heilbroner had misinterpreted the riots and that Kahn and Minogue had offered a more accurate version which was similar to the concept of the 1995 historical comedy-drama film based on the uprising. He commented that the flash mob Minogue organises is “not a riot, not an orgy” and instead “an uprising as the swaying lovers amass and their joy takes them literally higher and higher.” He then concluded of the video:

Kahn’s gleaming fantasy of paradisical urban cleanliness is a creative act that idealizes an historical fact. Like Spencer Tunick, who photographs mass public undressings, Kahn and Kylie emcee a multiracial party; as critic John Demetry points out, restricting participants to the young, pretty, physically fit is part of their idealization. Importantly, Kahn and Kylie serenade their partiers by the Stonewall-era term “lovers” (out-moded by today’s “partner”). Stonewall Uprising is a whitewash; this is a resurrection of affection. Rainbow Pride expressed as Kylie’s bliss” [sic]

On 22 June 2010, American pop group Scissor Sisters performed a country-inspired version of  All the Lovers on the Live Lounge segment of the British radio station BBC Radio 1.  The group performed this version of the song for the second time at the annual Australian music festival Splendour in the Grass in Melbourne, which is Minogue’s birthplace. She joined the group during the performance.

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On Robert Mapplethorpe’s Legacy

On May 6, 2011, 50 Americans—one from each state—were showcased in an attempt to shed light on that foundation of all things America: freedom of expression. Without outside influence, participants aged 21 to 106 were exposed to the art of the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, frequently cited for his most controversial works. Then, from the over 2,000 Mapplethorpe images, each was asked to select one photograph that spoke to him or her personally. The exhibition, called simply “50 Americans,” was shown at the Sean Kelly Gallery, in New York, through June 18, and brought Mapplethorpe’s work back to its original essence: existing first as a visceral, emotional reaction to an idea. Through Vanity Fair pages, photographer Bruce Weber, editor Ingrid Sischy, and singer Jake Shears—whose careers and lives have been touched by the work of the controversial artist—shared their memories and thoughts on his legacy.

 
 

Lisa Lyon, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1981

 
 

Monty, business owner, 31. Fairfield, Iowa.

Monty did not know of Mapplethorpe’s work prior to this project.

“I am a fan of classical and medieval/Renaissance art, history, and culture. The composition of this image draws elements from these time periods. It is clear that Mapplethorpe studied and was himself a master of the human form. He drew much inspiration from classical and Renaissance works and images … This image of Lisa posed in dramatic midstride of launching a spear or javelin captures the dynamic ideal form of this action.”

What does this image mean to you? “To me this image expresses classical feminine strength and beauty. The pose draws within me much correlation to figures from classical Greek myth such as the goddesses Diana or Athena, or an Amazonian warrior. The surf-and-sand setting evokes a tie to Aphrodite/Venus, who arose out of the ocean. Classical inspirations but expressed more clearly and vividly with modern dynamism and depth of form.”

How, if at all, has participating in this project changed your opinion of Mapplethorpe’s work? “I consider many of his images to be exceptional. He had a master’s eye for form, lighting, shading, and color.”