Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Art, for f*cks sake.


It is universally acknowledged that arts prizes are a foul con, a swindle to deceive the gullible and make a shit-load of money for the winners.

The Mann Booker*, the Vogel, the Miles Franklin – high profile crap one and all.

Now it seems some biffo has broken out around the Blake Prize, described as “the nation's top prize for religious art”.

Apart from the inevitable “what, we have a prize for religious art now?” I suspect the most common reaction will be “oh, for fuck’s sake”.

The Age notes;

It is understood that one of the Blake Prize judges, academic Christopher Allen, has resigned from the panel over his vehement objections to Sydney artist Adam Cullen's work. The triptych shows Christ on the cross with the inscription "only woman bleed", inspired by a line from an Alice Cooper song.

Mr Cullen goes on to say

"All the other entries would be of a Jew on two bits of wood. It's a very left-wing, almost pseudo- femme, artwork. How can he be offended?"

Come again? How can it be “very left-wing”?

Christ clutching a hammer and sickle would be very left-wing. Christ driving the money changers out of the temple might be very left-wing. A girly Christ is not.

Get your hand off it, wanker.

The paper also notes

Among the more provocative works is a picture of Melbourne party boy Corey Worthington as Jesus.

"Jesus was crucified to pay for the sins of man, and Corey was crucified by the media to pay for the sins of the MySpace generation," said Sydney photographer Dean Sewell, who created the image.


This old shtick again. Whack an image of Christ on something and bingo-bango it’s a “provocative work”.

Whack an image of Mohamed on something, however, and you have angry mobs burning down the Austrian embassy in Islamabad.

*I’m prepared to make an exemption for J.G. Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur, which was an absolute cracker.

Oh and Midnight’s Children. But that’s it
.

24 comments:

Boogeyman said...

I think if Jesus were alive today he might wear a fur-lined hoody and some big yellow sunglasses. Beats a hairshirt and sandals anyday, and the sunnies would block out his own divine glow.

This Blake Prize sounds like quite a con. If the list of past winners is any indication, it's not a prize for religious art in general, but Judeo-Christian art only.

squib said...

I haven't seen the picture in question so I can't judge it from an aesthetic point of view but clearly it is left-wing. Are you saying that feminism is somehow no longer valid?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The artist din't say it was feminist, squib, he said it was "almost pseudo- femme".

How does that make it "very left-wing"?

Boogeyman said...

Squib, how is the art piece in question left-wing, just because it is purposely controversial?

Furthermore, how do you construe that Ramon is dismissing feminism as invalid, just because he derides some self-indulgent art stunt?

squib said...

I suppose I got the impression he was saying if it was a communist Christ then that would be left-wing, but not so a feminist Christ

It seems to be making a feminist statement that I would interpret as left-wing, is all

Boogeyman said...

There are many right-wing feminists that would object to the Left co-opting all things feminist.

Likewise there are many left-wing christians who object to the Right laying claim to all things religious.

squib said...

Give me a break! The painting is clearly making a left-wing feminist statement

It's not making a right-wing conservative statement, is it now?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I'm not too sure it's making any statement.

squib said...

Hmmm so you wouldn't see it as suggesting that women have died through childbirth and bled through the ages in order to "save" humankind, in pseudo-Christ fashion?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

To be honest, squib, no.

Puss In Boots said...

I've seen the painting, and to be honest, I just don't get it. Only women bleed? Huh?

Although in fairness, I've never really liked the critique of art. I tend to think most artists just paint something because they like the subject or think it's pretty, not because they're trying to make some lame arse statement.

Maybe not so much in this instance, but I still don't get it.

Hmmm so you wouldn't see it as suggesting that women have died through childbirth and bled through the ages in order to "save" humankind, in pseudo-Christ fashion?

And that's exactly why I don't like art discussions. People read too much into things.

squib said...

Well anyway Ramon I bet if Blake could see it he'd say, oh for fuck's sake, too :)

Boogeyman said...

Give me a break! The painting is clearly making a left-wing feminist statement

It's not making a right-wing conservative statement, is it now?


Why do you insist on equating feminism with left-wing politics?

There's plenty of feminists on both sides of politics, and both sides can and have created policies unfriendly towards women.

I think you're reading what you want to read into the artwork, rather than looking at it and saying, "well, these aspects are clearly feminist, and these aspects clearly left or right wing".

Likewise, I think the artist, by identifying in his personal life as left-wing, calls his artwork left-wing regardless of whether it is identifiably so.

I mean, I consider myself a left-wing feminist, but if I take a crap, give it a slogan and a fancy spiel, then call it left-wing feminist art, I deserve to be derided too.

squib said...

Yeah I know there are right wing feminists, just like there are probably members of the National Party wot are vegetarian

But I'm saying this work seems to be both left-wing and feminist. I did not say it was feminist and THEREFORE left-wing

Christ I don't even know why I'm defending a picture I haven't even seen. I should be doing something more important like trying to find my car on Google streetview

Boogeyman said...

I should be doing something more important like trying to find my car on Google streetview

Give us your address and we'll find it for you.

It'll be perfectly safe - the only chainsaw-wielding stalkers that read TSFKA are quite harmless, really.

squib said...

Oh I found my house, though it's off the beaten track, but as I was taking a virtual stroll around the block I saw the postie and that inspired me to look for my car. It's terribly exciting

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I should be doing something more important like trying to find my car on Google streetview

I read that as trying to find my cat on Google streetview.

Where did you see this painting, Puss?

Puss In Boots said...

Well, I didn't see it in person, just a photo of it on the news site I was reading. I don't think I would understand it any more if I had seen it in person, though.

Puss In Boots said...

Here it is

Perseus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perseus said...

I'm in a shit mood so I'm going to lash our arbitrarily.

This art is shit.

Form and meaning are absent.

So is 'art'.

It's provocative imagery that fails to provoke anything except vacuous commentary on the definition of art, without ever once considering its ARTISTIC VALUE which is probably because its ARTISTIC VALUE is ZERO!

It's not left or right wing, it's just fucking shit.

Many great artists are turning in their graves.

squib said...

Well I admit it does look a bit like Jesus is wearing a nappy

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Can't really see how it's "very left-wing"

Leilani said...

The most offensive aspect of that painting is the use of Alice Cooper lyrics. Or is the fact that Cooper is a born-again Christian supposed to be part of the message?