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Feingold Gallery: Beauty Sleep

Feingold Gallery:
Beauty Sleep



The design of this gallery is aimed at encouraging conversation involving both immediate and reflective thought, individual and collective. Rather than starting by reading comments of others, please first put your own immediate thoughts in the on-line forum below. This way, we'll all be able to see how much similarity and difference there is in our initial reactions and interpretations of the images. Then go back to see what others have said about this image and add whatever new thoughts you have as a result of that. More general thoughts about the collection of images and/or this exhibit as a whole are welcome in the on-line forum on the exhibit home page.



Carol Stokes's picture

Initial reaction

I think the sleeping person may have dreams of being like the images and find it discomforting to except.This sleeping person may have made some comments about the people in their daily walk and have gone to sleep as well as dreaming about what they have seen or possibly made a comment about the people and they feel guilty for making such a comment .

Serendip Visitor linda a nj artist's picture


the diffrence is this;
I see oddly formed people,
BECAUSE.....all of these images have been used by many so this is not the ARTIST's message'
beauty sleep
my hidden dissabilities'
means.....what Disablitys YOu see here, YOU CAN EASILY Assimalate Discerne WHAT IS WRONG!
but forthe SAD ARTIST
THEY MUST FIGHT TO GET HELP and PITY No not Pity rather dispensation... for any expectations of this ILL DISABLED ARTIST"
so artist could rest if You could see'
and HOW SWEET and easy

do you understand me'

David Feingold's picture

My Reaction to What I Think This Collage Means

Linda, wow! what a heartfelt commentary. You definitely have a lot of good ideas and I thank you for sharing them with us. You are absolutely right--other people can't always see our impairments and disabilities when they are internal instead of external, like you can see in the picture. And you're right on the money when you say that this disabled artist "suffers" from and is just as real as challenges that people have which is seen by people on the outside. And that is the purpose of my artwork. To show that people with impairments on the outside also can have impairments on the inside, such as low self esteem, lack of motivation, depression, feeling isolated, etc. It is not an automatic thing, but some people do experience that. And then there are those who have impairments that are internally emotional and/or physical, which
people may not know that we struggle with on a daily basis. I'm glad you took the time to really look at the picture, think about it and then share your thoughts with us. By the way, you have a great sense of humor--a wonderful thing to have!
David Feingold

Carol Stokes's picture


Yes I truly agree with you on the images that the artist has displayed. I myself suffer from a disability ,I was in a car accident which left me with a fracture femur and tibia ,after being released from the hospital I was very depressed ,I was not motivated to do my therapy. My disability is called degenerative bone disease and my right leg continues to loose weight due to lack of exercise, having diabetes and also from the use of drugs to numb my pain.Some people find it funny a make jokes and at times I can ignore them and other times I get so mad. But this disability does cause you to have a sense of low self esteem,lack of motivation and go into a very depressive state.Somedays are better than others for me,but I still press my way to work and to volunteer to share hope and strength with those who find it hard to cope with their addiction. I believe that the God I serve has spared my life from the use of drugs to share the strength he has given me to move forward in my life and to not give up. No matter what your circumstances may be continue to go forward and move forward so you can live to the fullest.

Serendip Visitor's picture

.The mind is overwhelmed what

.The mind is overwhelmed what we can not make sense of on a daily basis. During sleep, we can finally be aided by our unconscious mind to be able to understand ourselves and others through our dreams.

Michael's picture

Normal looking freaks

People who look normal but underneath all the wrapping paper is a cracked mirror that shows a distorted image of what that person feels like.

Serendip Visitor's picture


it is the way we are made to think of our disabilities or gifts as i see them. i want to find someone to help me use these gifts instead of seeing them as a disfigurement of my mental health. i know things. i see things. i feel things. i am not a monster. i am not a reject because of them. we need to get help the children understand these gifts and control them without medications and such. because in these thoughts and such are a gift waiting to be opened.

David Feingold's picture

Feel free to get in touch

Feel free to get in touch with me if you'd like to discuss this further.

hether's picture



Kristina's picture

Hidden but real

Initially, I thought the sleeping figure represents all of humanity, not just one person. The images above are so varied and diverse - perhaps this is what led me to believe it could not just be one person. We all have a disability. There is no one perfectly "normal." While the images depicted above the sleeping figure are obvious examples of physical disabilities, the ones that are not so visible to the eye are sometimes even more debilitating: depression, irrational fears, anxiety, hatred, etc. These mental disabilities (as insinuated by showing just the head of our body) are often hidden and undiagnosed. We all go around pretending to be OK when everyone has something weak inside of them that hinders their day to day life. I feel grateful to have viewed this image.

David Feingold's picture

Hidden but real

Kristina, I really like your assessment and interpretation of the picture. Shows a great deal of insight.
One thing that is interesting to consider, is that even though psychiatric disorders, such as depression
and anxiety are disabilities in and of themselves, they could co-exist with physical disabilities:
We are then talking about disabilities within disabilities. These are certainly very difficult circumstances.

Hiren Patel's picture

It would reflect..

This image make me to believe that a kid is sleeping and having dream of some thing where these images from its memory been recalled in the mind.

the mind probably comparing it self to others - what seen.
with basic emotions of sexuality. with basic emotions of fear. just to explore and survival

Susan Bradford's picture

Sleep as escape/Dreams to reveal

I found myself searching this composition much like one puzzles a gestalt figure. Is the girl dreaming her "hidden" disabilities into our consciousness to illustrate that the impact of her hidden disability is as significant as those floating above? Or is the girl using sleep as a means to hide from a prominent disability, like those above, that she might have and we cannot see?

I also keep thinking about the term "beauty sleep" and the young figure of the girl. The photographs floating above her face are usually associate with carnies and traveling shows. Individuals with unique disabilities were used to shock and entertain the general public. The scattered images above the girl could be a reference to body dysmorphic syndrome which distorts a person's perception of their physical body.

Today society frowns on the use of "freak shows" as entertainment, but promotes the use of the female body in consumer culture.

David Feingold's picture

great insight

Great insight regarding the relationship between "freak shows" and the use of the female body in consumer culture. Also, think about how the media often portrays dads and men in general--sophomoric with childlike ineptitude.

Miss's picture

Initial Reaction

I was drawn to this picture because of the old photos -- the feeling evoked by the sepia coloring, the "good ol' days" evocation.

But wow. The first photo I saw was the man with huge legs and I was repulsed in fear and the sensation of pain I imagined he must have felt.

My reaction to the entire piece was dependent upon each picture, tho -- and the ones that made me fearful were the ones with the greatest impact. For some reason the woman without legs, the bearded lady, and the giant did not trouble me.

Anonymous's picture

Makes me think of

Makes me think of dreams,confusion and a lot of uncertinies.

peacemaker's picture

beauty is based on some

beauty is based on some ancient biological imparative of mating with those who are healthy and fertile ( Female ) and those who can provide resources ( males ) (food , protection of young, faithfullness) spreading of good genes. But since our modern society provides these things there is a need to up the annie sort of speak, to artificially create a need to feel beautiful through artificial means and create false or exaggerated images of beauty. This provides a market to produce income for those advertizers and marketers of products.Society has a collective image from TV movies magazines. albeit distorted image of what is considered beautiful. example: straight teeth is an example now everyone can afford to have them,so now they have to be perfectly white in order for marketeers to make money. It is the same with breast now everyone is having breast implants. so there is less focus afterall everyone can have them. So now it is weight . and they have added males and younger children to the mix ,when only women worried about their looks and appearance. Globalization has provided more opportunity to spread their propaganda far and wide,that's why Chineese women are having their eyes westernized to fit this ideal beauty. the list goes on and on..........

dfeingold's picture

Who defines beauty?

What if the world consisted primarily of people who looked like the images hovering around the sleeping person?
What if in that world, the person asleep was the one who people looked upon with repulsion and the others as models and movie stars? We say someone is "ugly" or "homely" because we are comparing them to an image we have of beauty in our minds. Who taught us what is to be considered ugly or beautiful? Who perpetuates that bias? We, who look in the mirror and say, "crap, this is a bad hair day" or "why did I have to get a blazing red pimple on my nose?" Look around us and see how the concept of "beauty" is connected to the marketplace. Advertising points out how those unsightly age spots, embarrassing dandruff, puffy eyelids, small breasts, big nose, dull hair, bloodshot eyes, overgrown eyebrows, chipped fingernails, bad breath, crooked teeth, and countless other things that detract from our beauty can be remedied by spending a little money here and a lot of money there. My concept of beauty is that of a verb. I don't see beauty as a state of being, but rather actively being beautiful in our most humane moments, when we are there to listen to, support, encourage, and appreciate each other. Beauty isn't in the eye of the beholder, it's in the beholder's heart.

Angela - an artist's picture

disability and the everyday

I had a similar thought, that perhaps models are the "freaks" as most people are "homely", asymetrical in some way, not model-beautiful or perfect.Most people in the world constitute the norm. However, models are used for the financial marketplace because of our biological drive for positive and "desirable" characteristics. We cannot escape our genetic preferences, and although I applaud your activation of the concept of beauty, I can't see general attitudes changing to be more inclusive. Sex with a genetically desirable other will always motivate us. And perhaps viewing ab"normal" bodies will always shock us to some extent , at least subconsciously, because of genetic wiring.
I am disabled, in some ways we become invisible - but I also think that females over the age of menopause become invisible in the same way - no longer ideal as a sexual object. A double hit. I also suffer from serious depression .
I find myself, unwillingly , getting impatient with people who say "oh, we all have problems". Yes, as humans we do, but that is just part of everyday life for us all,being disabled takes you to a different starting gate from which to add the "everyday" stuff.
Everyday stuff for us is also a lot more complicated than just getting up in the morning and taking it from there. Physical and mental disabiliies can mean a lot of problems before we are in a position to even consider "everyday" stuff. Before we have to deal with finances, with "are we beautiful enough", with a "bad hair day", with bosses and timekeeping, with computer breakdowns and the art not going well and personal relationships.

Martin's picture

It makes me think about the

It makes me think about the link between self-image and physical appearance. 
Ljones's picture

My gut reaction is pity for

My gut reaction is pity for the poor boy who is plagued by these images in his dreams... This reaction bothers me.
ryan g's picture

reminds me of the anatomy

reminds me of the anatomy lab at University of Chicago.  I'm learning to look at these things from a detached point of view.
mstokes's picture

Nightmarish visions?

If I were seeing these images in my sleep, I'd hope the images were constructions of my unconscious rather than reality.
akerle's picture

My first reaction to the

My first reaction to the images is revulsion. Are they physical representations of  the ugliest parts of the human mind? And is my response the same, perhaps, as it would be if I knew that a "beautiful/normal" person was experiencing a "deformed" mentality.
jrlewis's picture

The nature of our

The nature of our fascination with physical appearances "unnatural".  It is an unconscious response?  Every once and a while, someone who has placed there hand on my shoulder, has to think about it.  My should is normally shaped as a result of an old injury.  The person wants to poke around and maybe pull at my collar bone.
kmanning's picture

Fear and stigma

So much of disability is the fear and stigma we feel within our minds.
Sophie F's picture

Reconciliation of multiple

Reconciliation of multiple selves. The unconscious manifesting in images with which the conscious attempts to grapple.
PS2007's picture

Clear manifestation of our

Clear manifestation of our differences
ysilverman's picture

The hidden selves of our

The hidden selves of our unconscious (and the sense of emotional rest we get when, in private or secret, we entertain them).
Riki's picture

Finding comfort in your

Finding comfort in your inner self.
merry2e's picture


dark secrets...nightmares...and then peace
Laura Cyckowski's picture

Conceptions of the self

Conceptions of the self manifest themselves in the unconscious (and can come out in dreams). You can never escape from your mind.
Paul Grobstein's picture

Beauty sleep comment

Could we admit that things scare us, including things that don't actually threaten us except by their difference from what we're used to? Why are differences in bodies so disturbing? Could it be otherwise?
Paul Grobstein's picture

Beauty sleep comment

(posted for a friend)

Peace, serenity, a sleeping boy at peace with his soul.

Anonymous's picture

Initial Reaction

At first I was disturbed by the images, and confused with their arrangement. Is this supposed to cause fear or sympathy? Are we supposed to feel guilty for fearing such images? This seems to represent an extreme form of discomfort with difference.

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