Burlesque and art
I started with an artistic poster today for burlesque. Burlesque is artistic, it started in Europe and then caught on in the United States. It’s not serious art, it’s meant to be cheeky and it’s meant to be humorous.
Burlesque has inspired art and it has inspired fashion. It has it’s origins in Parisian cabaret. It has inspired artists like post impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Toulouse-Lautrec was drawn to Montmartre, the area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle, being the haunt of artists, writers and philosophers. Many works by Toulouse Lautrec depicted the Moulin Rouge, he was so inspired by it.
Last weekend I photographed Geeta Von Tease performing burlesque at West Bromwich Manor House. I see burlesque as being closely associated with art and although burlesque in the open air on a Sunday afternoon is different, it worked and was ‘family friendly’.
Burlesque may have started in Paris, but it became very popular in the United States and is now making a comeback in Britain. The association with art isn’t quite as strong, but in parallel with the popularity of burlesque, certain types of art and music are making a comeback too.
Toulouse-Lautrec did posters for the Moulin Rouge in a art nouveau style. He mixed the bold simplicity of art nouveau with text advertising for the Moulin Rouge and created posters that are sought after today.
Geeta posed for these close ups and so I allowed her to choose photos for this article. I think her act would be suitable for the clubs where burlesque is making a comeback, but for me having plenty of natural light for the photos was good.
Art exhibitions often have a premier opening night when artistic entertainment launches the exhibition, usually with a few canapés and bottles of champagne to enliven the proceedings. I think Geeta’s act would be ideal for such an event where performing art could meet contemporary art in a traditional setting. It could be an event that would recall the bohemian atmosphere of 19th century Paris.
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