Nutcracker: by Jennifer Rubell



nutcracker: a device for cracking nuts (Oxford Dictionaries).

Jeniffer Rubell: Portrait of the artist
Jennifer Rubell: Portrait of the artist

New York based artist Jennifer Rubell has created her own nutcrackers.

In doing so, she objectified a metaphor of the female body.

Dal Shabet Merilis Foto Teaser “Look At My Legs”
Dal Shabet Merilis Foto Teaser “Look At My Legs”

A 2007 review of studies examining depictions of women in the media including commercials  prime-time television programs, movies, music lyrics and videos, magazines advertising, sports media, video games, and Internet sites revealed that women more often than men are depicted in sexualizing and objectified mannerrs (e.g., wearing revealing and provocative clothing, portrayed in ways that emphasize their body parts and sexual readiness, serving as decorative objects). (Sexual Objectification of Women: Advances to Theory and Research)

Rubell builds dramatically on the SO metaphor, and turns the female body into a nutcracker.

The Nutcrackers Project in Dallas Texas, 2011
The Nutcrackers Project in Dallas Texas, 2011

In the artist’s website, we read the following introduction to her “nutcracker” project:

“In the Dallas Contemporary’s largest gallery space, Nutcrackers consists of 18 life-size interactive sculptures of women surrounding a pedestal holding one ton of Texas pecans. Each prefabricated female mannequin is mounted on her side in an odalisque position and has been retooled to function as a nutcracker. Visitors interact with each sculpture by placing a pecan in the mannequin’s inner thigh, then pushing down the upper leg to crack open the nut so they may eat it in the gallery. Inspired by nutcrackers depicting female figures – especially one of Hillary Clinton – these interactive sculptures embody the two polar stereotypes of female power: the idealized, sexualized nude female form; and the too-powerful, nut-busting überwoman.”

“Lea L” Nutcraker, by Jennifer Rubell. New York Frieze Art Fair 2012

One cannot resist but consider the artful play with words.

Nutcraker, by Jennifer Rubell

A nut-busting woman is a stereotype in a man’s world.


Rubell is explicit. The nut is broken high up, between the thighs.

Nutcraker, by Jennifer Rubell

What can be the source of life (Courbet) can also break one or more nuts.

The Nutcrackers Project in Dallas Texas, 2011

I must confess that the close ups reminded me of Jeff Koons. Although totally irrelevant, Rubell’s parents are art collectors and their collection includes some of Koon’s works.

Having seen pictures from Dallas and New York, I prefer the “factory-like” arrangement of Dallas to the solitary and rather depressing “solo” of New York.

The “contingent” of the factory gives a totally different meaning tot he work.


I think I will return to the work of Jennifer Rubell.

P.S. What is the relationship between sexual objectification and heartbeats?

P.S. 2 Here is the answer.