Saturday, October 6, 2007

Death as art?

I may find this more abhorrent because I'm a vegetarian, and strongly believe in Animal Rights, but seriously... come on. The above images are C-Prints by artist Nathalia Edenmont from the Former Soviet Union. She kills and dismembers mice, rabbits, house cats, and chickens for the sake of her art. I can enjoy the formal beauty of her images but simply can't get over the fact that it's the shock value that she depends on to make here photographs noteworthy. Organizations like PETA have broken into the only gallery which will showcase her work, and destroyed exhibits. Another artist that I have been reading about recently is Damien Hirst. He is being canonized as the UK's most famous living artist. He has been in the media lately because of his work "For the Love of God" in which he bedazzled a human skull with over 1,100 karats in diamonds set in platinum. It is in negotiations to be sold for $100,000,000, making it the highest selling piece of art in history. (I don't think he saw Blood Diamond). Anyway, the work of Hirst is often controversial. Second to his bling skull he is most famous for taking livestock, fish, and sharks and suspending them in formaldehyde, and plastic. His work reminds me of Bodyworlds which we've discussed a lot in past classes. But Bodyworlds isn't touted as and art exhibit, it is seen as scientific. What is so artistic about someone who takes a chainsaw to a calf and sticks it in a tank to compliment it's bisected mother? The strangest part is that there is far less controversy over Hirst's art than Edenmond. I believe this is because Hirst is not the killer of his subjects. It also goes to show you that the smaller and cuter the animal being disemboweled the greater the outrage. I am left to wonder if Edenmont had turned a calf's head into a hand puppet, would she have been left alone? Or had she plasticized her pet cat instead of putting it's head on a floral pedestal would the public have cared? Go forth and stick your dog in a tank of formaldehyde! It is art after all.

5 comments:

adam c said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adam c said...

"What is so artistic about someone who takes a chainsaw to a calf and sticks it in a tank to compliment it's bisected mother?"

It is artistic because it is in an art gallery. Duchamp chose to use a urinal.

I do find the first few pretty abhorrent, though.

M. Thompson said...

I'm just really turned off by animals being killed for art. Hirst's lesser known artwork is far more incredible to me. His paintings are insanely photographic.

Camden Hardy said...

"I am left to wonder if Edenmont had turned a calf's head into a hand puppet, would she have been left alone?"

I think this right here is why Edenmont is so much more controversial. Being turned into a finger puppet is a hell of a lot more degrading than being displayed in a more..."scientific" manner, as in Hirst's work.

I agree though; killing animals for art crosses the line for me.

Bayard said...

If you have to kill and dismember animals to create your art, you've got some serious issues to work out. . .probably a traumatic childhood experience.