The white butt (2015)
"Behind the obvious", àngels, Espai2, Barcelona
When Paper magazine published the cover shot of Kim Kardashian, balancing a glass of champagne on her butt, they did so with the ambition to "break the internet". Soon the photograph by Jean Paul Goude was indeed infamous. However, this photo stems from an earlier photo by the same photographer, taken in the 1970's and later published in the book Jungle fever (1982). The photo of Carolina Beaumont, commonly called The champagne accident, plays on the idea of "the happy savage" and is a part of an old racist joke about the black womans body and, in particular, her bum. It was, also, Saartjie Bartmans large rear that was the reason she ended up in freak shows in Europe in the early nineteenth century under the name "Hottentot Venus" (a pejorative reference, of course, to the greek godess). After her death, parts of her body was preserved and put on display until the 1970s.
While the cover shot of Kim Kardashians white butt broke the internet, the history of the photo lingered in the shadows.