Bad Boy (1981) depicts a young boy looking at and older woman shown in a provocative masturbatory (a beaver shot to be precise) pose on a bed, while the subject is surreptitiously slipping his hand into the woman’s purse and presumedly stealing its contents.
The painting unites eroticism and crime, between the two is a very strong link first explored by Sade and verbally juxtaposed by Jules Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly in Happiness in Crime, a short story first published in the 1874 collection Les Diaboliques. I hope to explore this connection later.
Bad Boy is a painting which provokes the imagination, an equal amount of events seem to be in the painting as outside of it.
I imagine the neighborhood outside the room depicted suburbian. I imagine her husband (she is married and sexually neglected) watering the garden in a David Hockney painting manner. Maybe her husband is taking a A Bigger Splash in their pool. Or the same husband is entertaining his gay lover in Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures).
What is the relationship between the older woman and the boy? Is he her son? Or is she barren? Is he a neighborhood boy who entered her house without her knowing? Is the woman aware that she is being stolen from and spied upon at the same time? Is it a game they play regularly and is the boy rewarded the money afterwards? Who is to tell?