Thursday, June 19, 2008

They Used to Hang Outlaws

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan: La Ballata di Trotsky, Museum of Modern Art in Castello di Rivoli, Turin, 1997.

One can guess the title within a reasonable degree of accuracy, even if one doesn't read Italian. Questions remain however: Is this art? Is this good art? And why would anyone hang a stuffed horse in a room in the first place, art or not? Cattelan has admitted to his desire to push the limits of tolerance, but a well-hung stuffed race horse hardly does it. In today's world its effects range from boring to stupid, hardly shocking. If you want to be shocked, visit Bodies - The Exhibition, watch TV news, or examine the effects of aging on the skin of a copiously tattooed biker.

Movements of the past -- surrealism, dadaism, were shocking because the images, forms, actions, texts, etc. were new. This is not new, it's tedious, regardless of how elaborate a theoretical underpinning Cattelan constructs.

And furthermore it lacks dignity -- the dignity of life (which Cia Guo Qiang was able to give to his wolves); the dignity of death; and the dignity of vengeance - unless it happens to fall on the artist.


borneman said...

In post-duchampian times it does seem tedious to try a new twist on some horse suspension outrage. Not to mention Hirst's sharks and Warhol's crashes or Koon's baboons. It's practically generic. Costco art in the big box of oblivion.

Give me a Paul Klee "Twittering Machine" any day to this over-trumped mall art of meaninglessness.

piper said...

That's right! The original Twitterer. The Twitters have fledged!