Venus Dog Tag

Tom Muir


Rossford, OH, United States

2.124 x 1.24 x .6 inches

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Photo credit: Tom Muir

Venus Dog Tag combines a small-scale image of the Venus of Willendorf, one of the world’s most recognizable and iconic fertility figures, with a standard dog tag. The jarring contrast between these two forms embodies the dystopian nature of government control of women’s reproductive abilities. The dog tag efficiently claims the soldier’s body for the use of the state. The dog tag in this piece claims the use and control of women’s bodies by the state. My choice of this fertility figure is based partly in my earlier work with vessels and their meaning as places of nurture and inner transformation. The fertility figure references the womb as a literal vessel, but is also infused with feelings of emotional warmth, sensual power, and religious awe. The fertility figure’s body is not just a body, but a compelling presence. This work confronts the viewer with the struggle between this figure’s presence and the depersonalizing dog tag.

Tom Muir is Distinguished Professor of the Arts at Bowling Green State University, where he is head of the Jewelry and Metalsmithing area in the School of Art. His award-winning work has been published and exhibited extensively in art, craft and design exhibitions.

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