Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Untitled (Don’t Kiss Me, I’m in Training), 1927

CahunDon'tKiss Claude Cahun (French, 1892-1954) and Marcel Moore (French, b. Suzanne Malherbe,1892-1972) Untitled (Don’t Kiss Me, I’m in Training), 1927. Photogravure, 4 5/8 x 3 ½ in. Private Collection Claude Cahun’s pose coyly addresses us with its solicitation in the negative written across the chest. “In training for what?” we might ask in return. The adornments create a send-up of the feminine pin-up girl with paste-on nipples, painted-on lips, and lacquered-down curls. The flattened chest and weight-lifter’s gear meanwhile signal a deflated masculinity. Gender and sex, it would seem, demand training. The bite of this witty set of mixed messages is that the surface is not merely a masquerade. Rather than identities and wishes we can put on and take off at will, the costume and customs of style also train us.