hat is one to make of Mr. Olaf’s 1999 formal portraits of, as they say, mature women carrying on like nymphets? Well, it depends on your perspective. If you think women long past the bloom of youth should cover up, then these women, from 61 to 89, are behaving shockingly inappropriately. If you think showing women in skimpy outfits and come-hither poses demeans them, then the pictures are insulting. If you think women of all ages can be anything they please, then these photographs are exhilarating.
Of course, if you are partial to the big picture, Mr. Olaf’s images are a glorious sendup of rigid notions of femininity, what women should and should not do, the obsession with youth, the deification of models, the Playboy-Cosmopolitan view of women, the idea that beauty and sexuality belong to the young, even what art should and should not show.
-Erwin Olaf, Mature