Thugs and Hoes


Anna Meliksetian, art historian, curator, and gallerist

Inspired by a Sports Illustrated article, where she saw an entire basketball team dressed up as superheroes, Vallejo decided to depict the ultimate man in our current postmodern world as a superhero. In Vallejo’s work, the female counterpart of the superhero – the ideal females – are represented by the tropes of the cheerleader, the vamp, the dominatrix, and the baby doll. Men exude superhuman power and strength, women satisfy their desires.

“They serve as sexual objects that exist to seduce, please, and service the superhero. Vallejo’s Super Heroes and Super Models play out their dramas on replicas of ancient Classical Greek vases, affirming that these roles go back to the conception of the Western ideal, which celebrates the strong, youthful male athlete or warrior and the beautiful, passive subservient female. The vases rest atop beautiful bases that are covered with recycled images of Vallejo’s work: vibrant magnificent trees, portraits of couples that have been reconfigured with the upper half of the body on the bottom of the base and the lower half at the top. The images are reconstructed, conveying organic fluid forms that allude to female genitalia.