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#23673 - 03/30/01 09:04 AM Re: Ambibalance?  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,146
Capital Kiwi Offline
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Capital Kiwi  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,146
Northamptonshire, England
Do you think political correctness is the death of art?

No, it isn't and it won't ever be. What is and isn't PC changes over time. Art remains art and can ride out the vicissitudes of changing opinion with no problems at all, thank you very much.

Last year, or the year before, an exhibition of work by British women artists was shown here in Wellington which included a small plastic Virgin Mary statuette encased in a condom called, prosaically enough I guess, "Virgin in a Condom". In the same exhibition there was a fifteen foot-long photo-montage mural called "Wrecked Last Supper" which portrayed Christ as a topless woman in a parody of da Vinci's "Last Supper". Instead of the adoring disciples, the "disciples" in this picture were all totally self-absorbed and disinterested in the fate of the central figure.

"Virgin in a Condom" had little direct artistic merit - it was a statement, of course. "Wrecked Last Supper" I would love to have on my wall as a conversation piece.

The thing was, the amount of controversy it stirred up was absolutely brilliant. The Christian Heritage Party (for whom a theocracy is not only a goal but an absolute pre-requisite - they're called "the Taliban" around here) went absolutely bonkers - well, more bonkers than usual, anyway, and they're a pretty sad lot under the best of circumstances. They said that we would all face eternal damnation if these works were displayed and that they should preferably be destroyed. Several of them tried to seize the virgin and oh, joy, the fun and games. Can you imagine security guards hovering over a small piece of moulded plastic covered in latex for 24 hours a day? Believe me, the irony didn't escape me!

And the most ridiculous part of it all was that the majority of the people who were arguing for and against the works had never seen them ! Graham Capill, the leader of the CHP, makes the Grand Wizard of the KKK look as offensive as Kermit the Frog. He's somewhere to the right of Ghengiz Khan (or Dubya, but I repeat myself). He was almost foaming at the mouth on TV when he was being interviewed about the exhibition. And, at that time, he hadn't seen them either.

As a result, thousands went to the exhibition who would probably never have bothered otherwise.

PC, the death of art? Nah! Don't make me laff - it's the staff of life to art!

The idiot also known as Capfka ...
#23674 - 03/30/01 02:55 PM Re: Ambibalance?  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
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wwh  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
What is art? And what is not art? Does the passage of time truly separate the good from the bad? Why is it that artists have to be dead before their work becomes high priced?
The hospital I worked at had a patient who did murals in excrement which were more attractive than many modern paintings. But was it art? Alas, none of them would be preserved for examination by art critcs.

#23675 - 03/30/01 03:39 PM Re: Ambibalance?  


CapK, your story brings up something that has long bothered me. i have so much trouble understanding the uproar over the desecration of 'idols' and icons, including the American flag. i have no idea what the current status is on the legality of flag burning, but it's certainly always been an issue that garners much attention (a constitutional amendment, to the bill of rights of all things, was once narrowly avoided; the irony of this is almost humorous - adulterate a document that has remained unchanged for two centuries (an icon if there ever was one) with the hope of preserving the sanctity of another.)

while i find the concept of the Blessed Virgin wrapped in a condom more than a bit distasteful (incidently, i'm quite sure i don't agree that the painting you mention would bring me any pleasure as a dinner guest, or as a host, despite the assurance of it being a conversational catalyst) my feeling is that the icon or idol's very purpose is to take on meaning for those that believe in its sanctity. thus, the Blessed Virgin in question is nothing more than the plastic it is made of, having been defiled such. ditto for the thousands of Saint Joseph statues that so unceremoniously find themselves head-down in a mudpile under a For Sale sign, and likewise for the flags.

i suppose all this rhetoric is simply to say that i agree with your contention the negative attention afforded art of this nature serves only to buoy the public's interest, and is quite possibly the driving force behind the artists' efforts.

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