Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Non-review from the Phantom Zone

I have a question for you about child rearing:
What do you do about a child who is behaving badly just for the attention? You don’t want to acknowledge the behavior because that is exactly what the child wants, but at the same time, you want to correct the behavior.

So what do you do?

In this case, I have an art critic’s dilemma.
Should I write about work that I believe has, at least mostly, been created to gain as much negative attention as possible? Even if the work has other positive aspects (which it does) should I tacitly encourage other artists to make similar work just for attention?

In this specific case, an exhibition has just opening in New York and the artist I’m considering writing about has even said that he wanted to make “something that would provoke even me”(1). The artist goes on to say, “"My ego as an artist says I can make anything look good.”

So if I actually write about the work, I will expose you to iconoclastic work from an artist who admittedly makes work to garner attention and satisfy his ego.

I’m not saying I like the work or dislike the work; I’m just not sure that as a critic, I should acknowledge work that has been created mostly to gain attention.

So rather than write about the work, I’m going to try something different:
One of the best parts of the web is the democracy of criticism and since this is an on-line publication, I think we should use this power of the web.

Below is a link to the gallery showing the work.
Only if you want to, click on the link and check out the work.
Then leave your critique of the show in the comment section below.
Anything you have to say will be welcome.

I’m giving you full warning that the exhibit is purposely iconoclastic and of course, viewing the work on the web is not at all the same as viewing it in person.

Let’s see what happens:

Some other iconoclastic images from history:

Statues in the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht, attacked in Reformation iconoclasm in the 16th century.

"Yo Mama's Last Supper" by Rene Cox was called anti-Catholic by Mayor Giuliani and was part of why the Brooklyn Museum was threatened with loosing its public funding.

(1-Quote from Lynn Yaeger's Village Voice Column,


At 6:06 AM, Blogger Jenny Kuhla said...

When I was in high school, I worked on a dairy farm. Now, 20 years later, my kid is taking riding lessons. I muck stalls in exchange for riding time. I have pulled shit from the bum of a constipated toddler. With my bare hands. I know shit: kid shit, cow shit, horse shit. And you know what? It's not shocking. Sometimes it's a little funny, but mostly, it's just stinky. I admit, "2 girls, 1 cup" made me gag, but that was a biological reflex, not a moral one. I just don't like the idea of eating shit. So I don't. I'll tell you what is shocking: war, genocide, rape, bigotry, hunger, global warming. That shit sucks. But shit shit? Nah.


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