Monday, January 18, 2016

Enter the art of the "meat tent"

"Art is not supposed to be safe."

That is a Rob Zombie quote relayed to me by Armando. In truth, I take the quote as a rationalization used to excuse all manner of low brow violence porn. If not that, then to shock simply for shock's sake. That, to me, is not art. But if art is indeed "not supposed to be safe" then the evidence may be found in the "meat tent" (pictured above).

The work is called "Matriarch" and it is by artist Andrea Hasler. It is meant to commemorate a 1981 anti-nuclear protest where 30,000 women camped outside a British airbase. As quoted at that link, Hasler explains that "Matriarch" is meant to take “the notion of the tents which were on site during the women’s peace camp as the container for emotions and [humanizes] these elements to create emotional surfaces.” I'm not really sure what art movement this would fit within but it is that car wreck, disgusting kind of way.

Upon a bit further investigation, this might be indicative of a movement in and of itself. Cao Hui is a Chinese artist with a series called "Visual Temperature" that portrays everyday objects as being made of flesh and fat. Once more these is hyperrealistic tend to provoke a visceral, stomach-churning response. No doubt that is the intent in that aeonian motivation to shock.

While I haven't the formal training to be a proper art critic, I can't help but wonder if this is a sign that it all indeed has been done. If you want to communicate a message through art, the only medium left is through bodily artifacts, whether those be flesh or fluid. I am not calling either of these artists or their work "bad," I'm just wondering about the motivation.

Shock just seems so...small.

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