So…

Is it art?

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23 thoughts on “So…

  1. Note, the question I asked is not “is it repugnant” or “is it ethical” or “is it sane”.
    Is this project, or hoax, or something in between, a legitimately artistic treatment of the relationship between performance art and female bodies/sexuality, in particular the ways that art tends to objectify female bodies by reducing them to agents of the conception and discharge of human reproduction?

  2. Sure it’s art, I think the real question is “is it good art?”. I’m not a huge fan of Pollock, but somebody is getting something out of his expression.

  3. Many people who want to be “artists” (in many genres) have run out of ideas. Most things have been done. You can call this art if you like, but it’s really just somebody who wants to be viewed as an artist but doesn’t have the talent to be one. So they have to scream out to be noticed as opposed to being praised for their work.

  4. By definition, “Art” is suppose to invoke emotions and ideas. She has invoked some strong emotions from both pro-life and pro-choice supports.

  5. Sure it’s art, but making art is easy (2-year olds do it all the time).

    The problem with a student doing something like this is that she has yet to prove whether or not she is an artist that has any real talent. If an established artist did something like this the question would be much more valid because you have to take into consideration their deep understanding of context and experience. This girl has no context or experience. And when you lack experience you confuse “shock” with “interesting”.

  6. Thank God this isn’t about that guy who starved the dog to death. I’m so tired of hearing about that.

  7. I want to be clear that I’m not trying to start a big abortion debate. My point is that eliciting emotion is not the one and only requirement to have something become “art.”

  8. John,

    I didn’t say evoking emotions was the only thing to consider. I merely commented this fulfilled that aspect of the definition of Art.

    I wouldn’t consider mass murder/killing to be art. Tarantino or the Wachowski brothers might.

  9. It’s hard–really hard, in this case–not to get sidetracked by the fact that the “artist” is extremely annoying. Saying things like “the nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties” just doesn’t inspire sympathy.

  10. The problem in these discussions is that “art” is a praise word and, indeed, a prime example of what W.B. Gallie has called an “essentially contested concept.” That is to say, due to the nature of the social uses of the word “art,” it is inherently the case that the boundaries of the concept are blurred and battle lines are drawn around it.

    Was the Yale scam art? I don’t really care. It’s a pretty good prank, and it’s generated a kind of cultural moment. How many other undergraduate student projects have achieved that?

  11. How many other undergraduate student projects have achieved that?

    Perhaps Seung Hui Cho’s? It’s not difficult to get headlines and attention.

  12. Rusty, that comparison’s a bit obscene, don’t you think? A school project that pranks people’s paranoia regarding reproduction is like killing a bunch of people?

    Anyway, if it isn’t hard to get headlines and attention, why do the vast majority of people never manage either? Indeed, even the vast majority of devoted attention-seekers never manage national media attention. This student did get national attention and start a series of intense conversations about art and reproduction — without actually hurting anyone…

  13. I say yes. It’s bad art, but art. I think Roasted hit the nail on the head when he said part of the problem is that the word art typically carries with it a positive judgment.

    And even though it’s bad art, it seems to be excellent artifice. Both art and artifice share the same etymology and I believe that although the distinction between the two has always been blurry, in our day and age and with today’s technology, it’s even more so.

  14. if it isn’t hard to get headlines and attention, why do the vast majority of people never manage either?

    Because most people don’t want to be infamous.

  15. arj,
    I’m not wondering if the scale or shockingness of the hoax per se makes it art. I’m wondering specifically about the questions I alluded to in comment #1.

  16. …in particular the ways that art tends to objectify female bodies by reducing them to agents of the conception and discharge of human reproduction?

    Hmmm. I’m not sure I agree with the premise- there are media where the female body is reduced to agents of conception and reproductions, but I’m not sure Art tends to be guilty there.

    My knee-jerk reaction, as an artist and a woman, is that she was only going for shock-value, and thus becomes more of a side-show than a valid social statement. Most of the women I have worked/created with were not interested in shock-circus art creation.

    I say No. But mostly because, like RT said, I don’t wish to grant her, um, *farce* with the title of Art.

  17. Scudworth,

    I find it very hard to separate the hoax/shocking aspect of this from what little else there is of it. Perhaps I’ll allow that 0.01% of it is art if you also let me say that 9.09% of it borders on criminal and the remaining 90% is just a plea for attention.

    I still think the John Mark Karr case is a worthy comparison. He was putting on a performance that got the attention of the nation. You could say that it was commentary on the way that USA stereotypes perverts that travel to Thailand to abuse children by assuming that they’re all criminals.

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