Everyday Venus art contest open to CSU students

Portrait or pinup? Venus figurines, on account of their nudity, are usually seen as “prehistoric pinups,” and interpreted as early sexual depictions of women. However, research shows that the subjects were likely clothed and the shape of the figurines suggest a self-portrait of a woman looking down at herself.

April Nowell
April Nowell

In a contest open to anyone attending Colorado State University, students are being encouraged to take prehistoric objects that have been wrongly misinterpreted as sexual objects and place them in normal, everyday situations. Contestants are being asked to show Venuses in situations divorced from their depiction as “prehistoric pinups.”

The purpose behind the contest is to “engage students to critically evaluate how we interpret art, and what these interpretations mean about us currently as a society,” said Alison Baumgartner, communications manager of the CSU Department of Anthropology.

Submissions must be turned in by Oct. 7. Prizes range from $50 to $250, and they can be credited directly to a student account.

The anthropology department will announce the winners of the art contest in conjunction with the Department of Art and Art History at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 in Room 107 of the Behavioral Science Building.

Contest winners will be announced in conjunction with a special lecturer’s presentation. All contestants are encouraged to attend the lecture by April Nowell, ”Pornography is in the Eye of the Beholder: Sex, Science and the Media in the study of Ice-Age Figurines” In her talk, Nowell will discuss the pitfalls of contemporary social constructions on ice age objects. Nowell earned her doctorate from the University of Victoria.

Contest Rules:

  • Must be a current Colorado State University student to participate.
  • Submissions must be something that can be printed. Whether it is a collage, a set of photos, a drawing, or sculpture, the submission must be 2D. JPEG and PNG files are accepted.
  • The resolution of submissions must be 300 DPI (dots per inch).
  • Submissions must be 11×17 inches.
  • Submissions must be turned in no later than midnight on Oct. 7.
  • Submissions must be a Dropbox link sent to alison.baumgartner@colostate.edu with a name and contact number.

For more information, see here.