July 1, 2010

"Everything that was once cutting-edge becomes reality-TV fodder."

Andres "Piss Christ" Serrano as a guest judge on "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist":
The contestants had less than a day to create their "shocking" works of art....

Miles, who has won two previous rounds, created a large illustration of Mickey Mouse involving penis-like embellishments. Last week's winner, John, attempted a painting of a man performing fellatio on himself, while Jaclyn created a series of low-res nude photos of herself. Ryan made a portrait of himself as a transsexual prostitute. Both Erik and Mark created works addressing child sexual abuse.
Works addressing child sexual abuse, eh? And when you do that, you're not making child pornography, right? Can't have been or it wouldn't have been on TV. You have to shock without really doing anything wrong.
Taking a different approach, Abdi chose to create a series of molds depicting young black youths as bombs ready to go off.
Sounds racist — but racism is still shocking, right? — and like a rip off of the infamous Muhammad-with-a-bomb-turban cartoon. Abdi is a Muslim name, by the way. But a little research shows that Abdi is black, so presumably that was TV-okay.
Because of the nature of the challenge, the episode featured a lot of bleeped words and blurred images.
All the better for DVD sales.
They criticized John's work for its cartoon-like execution and for the fact that he misspelled "fellatio" as "follatio."
Ha ha. Spelling error! Ding!

38 comments:

mesquito said...

The bourgeoisie are nodding off.

GMay said...

Fringe reality programming. Without looking at the link, I'm guessing TLC?

GMay said...

Doh! Bravo. Same thing I guess.

E.M. Davis said...

The real shocking thing would have been to paint a serene landscape or a bowl of fruit.

traditionalguy said...

If art is a display of the artist's inner vision, then these artists have surrendered to an inner vision of destruction and death. I guess somebody needs to be the bad example. But why do all of them eagerly compete to do the worst things the best?

Ron said...

Isn't follatio where you get your hair sucked? No wonder Biden looks so happy!

c3 said...

Well at least it wasn't on ABC Family.

So can we expect Serrano on Dancing with the Stars in the next few years (or maybe Celebrity Apprentice)

Funny; my wife asked me today after seeing a network's show lineup,
when are these reality shows going to end?

Paddy O said...

"and for the fact that he misspelled"

This makes a lot of sense really. As for most 'shocking' art it's not really the paint, or pictures, or whatever that makes the art, it's the description. The best artists of this type are not the best at art, but the best at writing BS. Not only writing it though, maintaining sincerity and earnestness about believing the BS. This latter part is the real trick.

That's what has kept me out of the this art scene. I can write BS, but I laugh at it instead of taking it really seriously.

Paddy O said...

The "sex as daring" stuff is more schlocky than shocking. This is an era in which Lady Gaga is in the news for being celibate. We're bored of the shock and we're bored of the bottom of the pyramid artists and judges who continue to promote it.

ricpic said...

I know very well what I am about and that my skies have not been neglected, though they often failed in execution - and often no doubt from over anxiety about them.
--John Constable

What a square he was to try so hard. What a square he was to care so much. What a square.

Roadkill said...

I'm still waiting for a "courageous" artist to do the Piss Mohammed picture or an Elephant Dung Mohammed.

Then again, unlike tolerant Catholics and Christians, Muslims -adherants of the so-called "Religion of Peace" - would most likely declare a fatwa to kill (or probably behead) any artist for such a work. Ergo, there are no courageous artists.

What we do have - in America - are self-promoting, cowardly, and largely untalented people who feel safe creating shock-trash only because it involves Christian and/or American values. Our media celebrates such "courage" here.

Lucky them to be Americans, who after their 15 minutes of fame can return to their small, pathetic, and unenlightened lives without fear of consequences.

edutcher said...

More and more, I find that refusing to watch anything fictional on TV made after The A-Team went off the air is a good rule of thumb.

Trooper York said...

You guys are watching the wrong reality shows.

If only you were watching the "Real Housewives of New York" you will see Jill Zarin artisticly produce the perfect representation of a twat.

A paticularly nasty twat by the way.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Ladies and gentlemen, I've suffered for my art. Now it's your turn."

It may qualify as art under a technicality, but I still don't think this is quite the same sort of pity and terror Aristotle had in mind.

ricpic said...

Everybody hates Jill. But at the end of the day Jill has the most gelt. And her son's a doctor.

Eric said...

At this point I think calling yourself an artist would be embarrassing. You'd have to add "...but not that kind of artist" in polite company.

Rialby said...

I watched it because my wife wanted to. It was awful. The art world lost its way after WWII just like the rest of western civilization.

Trooper York said...

Bobby has the gelt, Jill has
uh-gootz.

That goofy bim Sonia Morgan has the real gelt.

She earned it the old fashioned way. On her back. And in the divorce settlement.

Trooper York said...

If it weren't for the pox that is Sarah Jessica Parker I would be convinced that Jill Zarin is the Anti-Christ.

Trooper York said...

Not everybody is so evil that they have a blog called "I hate Jill Zarin.

Except of course for Jill Zarin.

YoungHegelian said...

Once again, reality (TV, in this case), imitates The
Onion:

rhhardin said...

The Carol Burnett outtakes on YouTube are good.

The show itself sucked.

Paddy O said...

"The art world lost its way after WWII just like the rest of western civilization."

Oh, I don't know. I think the art world is doing fine. Just going by the two (one and two) professional artists I know, I think there's a lot of worthwhile work out there.

It's the publicized art world that lost its way.

I blame Andy Warhol and Christo.

"Piss Christo" might be an interesting work...

reader_iam said...

Follatio = fellatio + folio.

You know, perhaps this is a new word for which the time has come.

reader_iam said...

Perhaps that should be: "...time is coming."

Rialby said...

Paddy O...

sure, there is plenty of wonderful art being produced but it's nothing that the "serious art world" would ever accept as beautiful. They'd rather give plaudits to Serrano for repeating the word "shit" over and over as if that's some brilliant innovation rather than the ramblings of a scatalogical pervert.

The Crack Emcee said...

The whole premise is weak.

wv: reglign - what religion becomes as you're dying.

The Crack Emcee said...

Paddy O,

"This is an era in which Lady Gaga is in the news."

FIFY.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm with Paddy O on this one:

The art world is fine, it's the patrons/audience who are nuts.

"Lady GaGa is in the news."

I rest my case.

ironrailsironweights said...

Last week's winner, John, attempted a painting of a man performing fellatio on himself

The percentage of men actually capable of doing that: <.0001

The percentage of men who would do that, if they could: 100.

Peter

PatCA said...

This is just sad. I'm not even mad at Serrano any more.

reader_iam said...

The other thing is, can a ***frisson***, if it's truly a ***frisson***, honestly be awkward, in the moment--as opposed to, for example, afterward quarterbacking or later reflection?

el polacko said...

to be fair, the artists were all criticized for going to sexual themes as being somehow shocking. most of their work was quite tame and was so judged.
as for serrano, famous designers make appearances on project runway, famous chefs show up on top chef..what's different about a famous artist being on work of art? the guy has been maligned by folks who can't see beyond words like piss. he's a deeply religious man who was not making any sort of anti-christian statements in his quite beautiful and haunting photographs that happened to employ bodily fluids. nobody has to like his work but running around screaming about how he 'pissed on jesus' is just ignorance spouted by folks with a persecution complex. if he had titled his infamous photo 'christ in amber' the same people who endlessly rant about piss would have thought it was a lovely representation of their god..the same one serrano worships.

Class factotum said...

nobody has to like his work but running around screaming about how he 'pissed on jesus' is just ignorance

He can paint whatever he wants, just not with my tax money. Actually, no artists should get tax subsidies. But if they do, they better not insult the hand that feeds them.

MayBee said...

I was irritated by the Christian chick who said she wanted to do a piece about how the Evangelical Right is full of hypocrites.
She then produced a political-cartoon level illustration full of drunk girls and Victoria's Secret models who wanted to kill Jesus.
Seemed pretty judgy to me. There's nothing anti-Jesus about being drunk or scantily clad. There are some religions that don't like that behavior, but she certainly wasn't pointing out anyone's hypocrisy (except maybe her own).

Paddy O said...

"Lady GaGa is in the news."

Oh yeah. That is pretty bad sign, isn't it.

Robert Cook said...

Serrano is an artist and his work is beautiful...hardly shocking at all, I'd say his images are striking.

As el Polacko said, what's shocking about "Piss Christ" other than the word "piss," (or the assumption that urine is intrinsically disgusting and therefore the image was meant to degrade the image of Christ)?

I think "Piss Christ" is the most beautiful and mysterious image of the crucifixion I have ever seen, bar none. In fact, as an atheist, I am generally unmoved and interested in Crucifixion images, and Serranos' is the only one I know that I would want to look at.

Serranos himself said on the show that it's hard to be shocking on demand, and really, aside from the sensationalism of the notion for purposes of titillating viewers, why would one's capacity to be "shocking" even be considered as a criterion of one's artistic talent or voice?

The meretriciousness of this tv show aside, some of the artists competing do actually seem talented and skilled.

jr565 said...

Wouldn't this have been a great time for one of the contestants to show true bravery and artistic skill (and to appeal to the guest judges sensibilities) and produce a work on the show called shit Mohammad? It would be very simple to execute. Just open up a Koran and then take a dump on it.
It's provocative, it has the bodily excretions, it attacks religion. Serrano himself would have to admit he was bested by a rank amateur and was looking at a true artistic genius.
Only of course, attacking Islam is not artistic, but bigoted and hateful (plus it can get people riled up enough to threaten to chop your head off) so I doubt you'll see any artist, let alone the great master Serrano attempt it. To provocateurs nothing is off limits so long as the target the provocateur targets is a safe one.
Something tells me Serrano is not that much of a provocateur, nor is the show that willing to create controversy that it would allow Shit Mohammad to ever see the light of day. Which means they are a bunch of pussies.