09 August 2008

Offensive?

The crucified frog is on display at the Bolzano Museum of Modern Art in Northern Italy and is by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger.

Terence Koh's "Jesus with a Hard-on" is being exhibited at the Baltic Gallery in Gateshead in the UK.

Both of these works of art are subject to claims that they are offensive. What do you think?

32 comments:

the writer said...

I don't find them offensive. I think they're just pieces of so-called art, nothing more but maybe because I am not THAT religious.

Dilligaf said...

If people think thats bad they should see some of the stuff I come up with!

treespotter said...

i'd probably find the second one offensive. the frog has some sense of humour.

it's one of those things, you know when you see it, i guess.

Rob Baiton said...

Writer One...

So-called art might be the way that many people look at it. I guess one person's art is another person's trash.

Dilligaf...

Yep, I agree!

Treespotter...

That is the point. "it's one of those things, you know when you see it, i guess" who should decide what is offensive and what is not?

Is it as simple as, "if you are offended then look away and never look again?"

Thanks for commenting!

David said...

As a practicing Calvinist with a smattering of Eastern Orthodox, I find a frog nailed to a cross nothing to look twice at. And the statue with a big thing is also pretty uninteresting. Oh..wait...I see..haha...they're supposed to represent Jesus Christ....oooh...in that case....doesn't offend me....but unfortunately for the artist...they now have completely lost my respect as people who display any semblance of an imagination. Cut yer hayer n git real job!!

C'mon artists!!! It's the 21st Century for Frog's Sake....get some imagination happening here...what is this? The slow and painful countdown to Artistic Pre-Millennial Armageddon????

Rob Baiton said...

David...

Thanks for the comment!

I am not offended by either. However, neither piece has inspired me to become a fan of either artist's other works.

Armageddon?

treespotter said...

Isn't the original idea to have a respectable view to represent our concerns and sensitivity, so that it better reflect the common interests among ourselves?

I would say the court would have the authority over the distinction, provided that the distinction was made.

The Larry Flint case was an interesting theory that the satire advertising was so obviously false that once ought to recognize its sense of humour (rather than malicious libel).

As to whether it could be considered arts, I'd say that art is an even more dangerous thing. Art is stuff that touches the heart. It touches on either side and we probably want only a limited dose of the other.

Not sure if that makes sense.. :)

Rob Baiton said...

Tree...

Makes sense!

Who deems what is art and what is not. If art or writing or anyover form of creativity is to only reflect the common interests that a community has, then isn't this by its very nature restricting people's creativity to only that which reflects a common belief?

There are examples we could cite through time eternal as to how tastes and acceptability of certain things develop.

For example, a young Elvis doing a hip wiggling routine on the Ed Sullivan Show. Now, most people do not even blink an eye at performances from Madonna, Britney, Christine, or others.

As for satire, an even more recent example is that of Obama and wife on the cover of The New Yorker Magazine -- offensive? Who should decide?

Art? What art form? I often wonder about performance art as it tends to push the boundaries on very regular occasions. I bloke doing a Jackson Pollock type painting by making splotches on a canvas utilizing his fart power might not be everyone's cup of tea, yet is it art?

This could be an interesting discussion over a few wines or beers :D

therry said...

Seems the artists have lost (or never had in the first place) creativity so they decided to create controversy by using some religious icons instead.

I say; meh. Next!

Rob Baiton said...

Therry...

Maybe this is not the art that exhibits a lot of creativity in contrast to seeking out controversy. However, my point is perhaps more general than that and is who decides what is art?

You are an artist, I am not! So, my question really is this, "As an artist how would you feel if there was someone telling you what constitutes art and requiring you to only produce certain things which have been certified as art?"

As I have said the idea of Jesus with a hard-on is not art to me. Let's face it, if Jesus was a man then it is likely he had a hard-on at least once during his life, divine or not! I guess the bible should have dealt with the "divine hard-on" or "divine wet dream" but it didn't.

The picture of a frog nailed to a cross with a beer and an egg does not inspire me to go out and check out the rest of Terence Koh's portfolio.

Art is personal and invokes different reactions in different people. Hence, once again, my question, "who should determine what is art and what is just a poor attempt at art in search of a controversy?"

I say, "meh, pass the wine!"

treespotter said...

wine is better. More suitable to the artistic integrity of the discussion.

therry said...

Rob, search me. My teacher took us to the National Gallery of Victoria for excursion, and there were some really ridiculous pieces of art being displayed, and they cost heaps.

There was even a small canvas covered in black, and there was a description for it which said, "The artist have covered the real artwork with black paint for personal reasons".

So, I don't get what is "art" and what is "not art" either.

All I know is that an artwork should be beautiful and meaningful as well as capturing the essence of life - the things people take for granted, in which the artwork function as a reminder to people to take a break and enjoy their lives.

But what do I know right :P If a guy who creates Jesus with a hard on (a VERY big one at that) can get that much publicity, I must not be a very good artist LOL

Rob Baiton said...

I wonder what the response would be if instead of Jesus we had Mohammad with the hard-on?

Let's face it the historical record is a little bit slim with regards to whether or not Jesus scored with Mary Magdalene. However, the historical record shows that Mohammad fathered children.

Just a thought!

Rob Baiton said...

Therry...

The black canvas is a good one.

I am going to buy a canvas and some black paint. Then I will scribble any onld crap on the canvas and then paint over it in black and see if I can sell it to a gallery or some one. If I can sell it then I can cross it off my list of 150 things.

oigal said...

"I wonder what the response would be if instead of Jesus we had Mohammad with the hard-on"

Oh you fibber!! You and the rest of the world know exactly what the irrational, intolerant repsonse would be

Rob Baiton said...

Stump...

Me, fibber?

:D

therry said...

Rob,

Lemme know how it goes with the crapped on black painting :P

Rob Baiton said...

Therry...

I did say scribble any old crap on the canvas and then paint it black (sounds like a Rolling Stones tune).

But come to think of it I could make the whole thing a performance art evening out for Jakarta's creative set and literally crap on the canvas while reading poetry(would that be offensive?)...

Perhaps I could call the show, "The Poetry of Life"!

rima fauzi said...

not at all.
the jesus with a hard on might sting a bit among christian zealots, but nothing to create a death fatwa about.

anything more offensive?

Rob Baiton said...

Rima...

I am exercising self-control or is it self-censorship...I do have something that might put a smile on your dial. Nope, not that!

Rather a t-shirt...can I email you through your site? I have not really explored your domain in that much detail...

treespotter said...

here's what i think (i'm pretty sure i've done a post on this at some point but can't seem to find it):

It's really a matter of sensitivity. Societies and cultures don't agree on what could be deemed offensive, but all recognize and respond to offenses.

It's the equivalent of cocktail chatter, some conversation is always more suitable in some other lounges, one risk offending people unintentionally by saying the wrong things.

The intent, of course is always very much relevant. Even arts have a purpose.

Rob Baiton said...

Tree...

Agreed. There is always a purpose or an agenda at play.

But, it comes back to my original point. Who should decide what is art and what is not?

If art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, then isn't it me who should decide what I find offensive? Or is there an arbiter out there some where who knows me better than I know myself?

If you are offended, then look away and don't look back!

rima fauzi said...

my email address is written in my site. send away!

David said...

"Armageddon?"

Yeah..haha..you take the traditional Christian notion of Armageddon and the battle between the Heavenly hosts and the Beast, and then you take unimaginative post-modern and post-post-modern 'artists' and all you get is a pop and a whiz, and the artists in their black skivvies patting themselves on the back over the sublime but somehow 'earthy' undertones of the whole collage of inner bwabwabwbabaa......and to quote Neil Young, 'it starts off real slow and then kinda fizzles out altogether". That's artistic Armageddon from the Frog-on-a-cross-is-art crowd.

treespotter said...

you really don't believe in a judicial system to deal with it? Isn't its purpose was to conform and affirm these common values in the first place?

I'd always say let's ask the court of law. See what they say.

I think i wrote some bits here.

is our judicial system (or any other one for that matter) sufficiently equipped to deal with it, of course is another matter.

treespotter said...

and uh, btw, when you click that link, i love the way the new heading fits with the headline. Unintended consequences, i'm sure.

PS: Wine midweek?

Jakartass said...

As I often tell the Rev at Jakarta BlogM, "Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder."

I studied 'Art' at a couple of noted London colleges and met a few noted nudes. I also qualified as an art teacher, not that this makes me any more qualified to judge Rob's two examples than anyone else..

What I would say is example one would look good in an upmarket souvenir shop and example two is faux exhibitionism and not even mildly amusing or interesting.

I know what I like and hopefully, so do others. As long as we don't set ourselves up as arbiters of taste, then basically anything goes.

BTW Rob. I wouldn't want to watch you shitting.

Rob Baiton said...

J...

I would imagine that you would not be the only one that would take a pass on my proposed performance art :D

Ally said...

I dont know if both contain critical meanings. Maybe they have that will make them interesting subjects to talk about.

Whether they are offensive? They could be offensive, depends...

But if both works just want to make the figure of Jesus looks ridiculous... well... poor works

Rob Baiton said...

Ally...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

I guess this is the thing about art. Are we trying to find the meaning or intent as the artist intends it or are we judging the work on how it affects us when we see it?

I think that art and whether it is good, bad, or offensive is a topic that is worth discussing.

GJ said...

Who the hell is Jesus???

In the second example I'm sure this dude isn't the first or last bloke to get a boner dressed in a womans frock.

I know I enjoy it!!!!!!!!

Rob Baiton said...

GJ...

Depends on which Jesus you are referring to! I watched some boxing the other week and Jesus was fighting some other fella but he didn't look too much like the devil (the other fella).

I do not want to even try and imagine you in a frock let alone with a bone!