The J. Paul Getty Museum

Untitled (Jayne Mansfield), #8

Object Details


Untitled (Jayne Mansfield), #8


Jo Ann Callis (American, born 1940)






Silver-dye bleach print

Object Number:



27.9 × 35.6 cm (11 × 14 in.)


© Jo Ann Callis

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Object Description

There are two cream puffs sitting side-by-side, with a red cherry sitting on the top of each as a finishing touch to a great mound of delight. Each cream puff is fully loaded, with a shell acting as the base and an abundant amount of whipped cream rising generously from it. It all sits on pink, fake-fur fabric. It speaks of abundance, with the huge whipped-cream filling that swirls around the center of each puff.
--Jo Ann Callis

This image is one of a series of photographs of dessert pastries--called "Forbidden Pleasures"--occasionally displayed together to invite comparison of shapes, colors, and other visual elements. Callis has said that these soft, sweet, colorful pastries, each lit and staged on a fabric of complimentary texture and design, is about the "idea that desserts and eating desserts carries some of the same psychological baggage as guilt." In other words, eating rich desserts in this health-conscious time can be considered a crime of sorts. In these images, there is also a tongue-in-cheek reference to human sexuality. The seductive ingredients of the pastries and their fabric environments simulate the look of flesh. Although the motivation for this project may have been an impulsive urge to have fun with both the glossy Cibachrome medium and the subject of sweets, Callis was no doubt drawing on the tradition of abundance found in earlier still life painting and the extravagant color of more recent painters representing popular culture.

Jo Ann Callis: Woman Twirling (March 31 to August 9, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 31 to August 9, 2009