Lena Dunham Upside Down by Helena Wurzel
8"x10" ($24) | 11"x14" ($60) | 16"x20" ($240) | 24"x30" ($1200)
I am not Helena Wurzel.
This is an obvious fact to me and also to you all now that I’ve let you know. But no other artist’s work has ever felt like such an accurate representation of me, of the way I spend my days and my nights. Helena’s paintings are an idealized version of my reality, simply because her art is a more beautiful version of real life. I purchased Searching first—a woman on the floor, magazines, DVD’s and books strewn about. I have been this person many times, especially because for the longest time I lived in an apartment with no furniture. It is comfortable to sit on the floor and have little piles of things you are working on. It may seem like a mess but everything is in its right place.
And thus began my love affair with Helena Wurzel, who is not me. Time was the next purchase. Again I wondered, does she have a secret camera into my life? Laying on the bed, a computer and a cat occupying the space often reserved for a significant other. Do I Look Expensive? was my third purchase, featuring the back of a woman looking at a painting of a woman, but what Helena captures is that way we like to stand in front of art we love, art we admire, art we are clearly gaining so much more from. It is a pose for ourselves and a pose for those around us. “I get this and you can tell by my pose that I get this.” I used to ask my ex-boyfriend “do I look expensive?” and he always said yes, of course.
And now Helena’s newest edition, Lena Dunham Upside Down, features a woman in a bikini, the Vogue issue with Lena Dunham on the cover resting on her face as she naps. (I imagine that she naps because that’s what I would do, and although I am not Helena Wurzel, something tells me our thoughts are connected in some kind of way.) During the summer, my number one goal was to go to the beach as often as possible, a feat that requires a bit of dedication when one lives in New York and does not own a car. I made it to the Rockaways, or Riis beach, and even Cape Cod, almost every other weekend. This summer, Lena Dunham became my boss. Does Helena make art only for me? Only to commemorate my milestones? Probably not. I know she doesn’t. I know other women look at her work and feel the same way that I do. The way she captures our alone behaviors, the things we look at, our butts in bikinis, our reflections in glass, our poolside solitudes where we just sit down and tune out the world, sleeping with our cats, working in our rooms surrounded by all the things that make us, us.
I am not Helena Wurzel, and I don’t need to be, because her art is already all of us.
With art for everyone,