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April 23, 2008

1

The depths of art: would it surprise you?

by quaesitor

Art is far too under-rated by contemporary bible-believing Christians. This is VERY sad indeed – because art at its best helps to challenge and shape the ways in which we see the world – which is a very Christian thing to be doing, when you stop to think about it.

But there has been blogdom outrage about 2 recent artistic ‘experiments’.

A dying dog

Guillermo ‘Habacuc’ Vargas has allegedly tied up a stray dog in a Nicaraguan art gallery and left it to starve and die. The inevitable ire of animal lovers has spurred various online petitions to object (rightly) to this appalling abuse and concept. Here is one example:

Now the artist insists that he meant no such thing and was testing the visitors’ reactions – in other words, rather like some obscene psychology experiment, he was provoking them to see if any did anything about the dog’s predicament. And in the hushed tones of the art gallery, no one did.

Then from a student at Yale University (thanks to my mate, Adam Johnson), there was this:

Exhibiting miscarriages

According to the Yale Daily News, Aliza Shvarts had this idea:

Beginning next Tuesday [ie Tues 22nd April], Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

Inevitably, there has been a right rumpus about all this. There web has been blazing about it – and the Yale authorities are up in arms – with everyone bad-mouthing everyone else. According to the Yale Daily News on 21st:

As news of Shvarts’ project swept across the Web last week and attracted the ire of students and private citizens alike, Shvarts and the University engaged in a match of he-said/she-said: Shvarts stood by her project as she described it earlier last week in a news release, while the University — claiming Shvarts had privately denied actually committing the acts in question — dismissed it as a hoax that amounted to nothing more than “performance art.”

Protest at Yale

photo courtesy of Yale Daily News

Now who knows whether or not either of these stunts are genuine is anyone’s guess. There’s certainly no way from this distance that we can know for sure. But surely the point is this: despite the shock, outrage and horror, few of us these days would be surprised if they were genuine. And as such, they reveal the extreme insanity of a culture that has lost all its ethical moorings – ironically enough, all in the name of provoking reflection. Even worse, I can’t help suspecting that the online heat generated by the moral outrage over the starved dog has reached a higher temperature than the complaints about the abortion art show.

Any comments / thoughts …?

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Apr 23 2008

    Mark..i agree with you, i think the starved dog will create almost more outrage than anything else and people are not really chocked anymore. There was previous outrage about ‘win a kidney’ TV show which later turned out to be just a stunt. But still it seems that everyone so wants to keep quite and “get along” even when there is clear violation to basic human principals.

    Reply

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