Photo: Courtesy of The New York Times.
The New York Times Magazine decided to turn Lena Dunham into high art for its annual culture issue. The magazine commissioned artist Victoria Diehl to turn the auteur into a marble-esque vision inspired by Antonio Canova's famous sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix.
In the accompanying article, Dunham talks about the usual Lena Dunham topics: There are stories about her formative experiences; familial relationships; boyfriend, Jack Antonoff; and work. Above all, the purpose of the profile is to discuss Dunham's forthcoming book, Not That Kind of Girl, and its literary precedent.
Lena's debut work falls in line with Helen Gurley Brown's Having It All — albeit a decidedly 21st-century version of the concept. "If Brown’s definition of 'having it all' was ultimately as facile as it was untenable, Dunham’s interpretation may be rooted in her unwavering commitment to the idea that personal experiences, especially women’s personal experiences, are valid and necessary as subject matter," Meghan Daum writes.
Critical reception notwithstanding, Dunham's book is already a success. Her sister, Grace, has helped organize a different type of promotional tour. Lena will engage in conversations with authors, like Zadie Smith, Mary Karr, and Curtis Sittenfeld, and representatives from Planned Parenthood. All of the events have already sold out.
Say what you want about Lena Dunham, but she's certainly moving the conversation forward. It may not be about having it all; in fact, it may be more about having a ball. (New York Times Magazine)