Sexypink

Testicular Fortitude

Posted in Art Papers by Adele Todd on October 27, 2007

I was reading a letter from a friend about a topic that I discussed here on sexypink the other day. He was really upset about the work of Tracy Emin, his gripe was about taste and intention, purpose and shock value. A whole bunch of International names were thrown about, Gilbert and George, Chris Ofili and Kara Walker, to name a few.

Today I thought about an observation I have made about film. The Postman always Rings Twice was remade in the late nineteen eighties. I saw the remake before the original.Where to me, the Lana Turner version, was much more moving than the perceived, sexy, modern interpretation. That was one of the films that drew my attention to what films today bring to the genre. Sometimes it is easy to think that all modern movies do is add sex and violence and tonnes of special effects. This is the belief that the movie industry has about what we, the public want to see. Are Artists in some way apeing this form of entertainment?

Let us just look at random of some of the Art offerings that I have seen on the Internet and up close for 2005/7. Actual dead bodies willed to science posed in a gallery space for viewing. This included a boy on a skateboard. Colourful murals of Anime-like characters half naked in a stylised forest with mist and running waters. A fox, taxidermied and repeated thousands of times to look as though it were a swarm of foxes within a gallery space and the larger than life sculpture of a woman in bed, caught looking vacantly into space.

Artists want to test themselves. Test what they can do, try things they haven’t seen before. Is it safe to say that they cannot help but be guided by their times? If Picasso were alive today, wouldn’t he be doing things like Jeff Koons? Perhaps when we look at Art, we should remember that there is a part of work, by its very presence, away from a studio space, that is an element of showmanship. Art is a verb, an activity that you respond to.

An installation using strung red beads as entrails dripping

I started the entry with the words testicular fortitude. That was one of the things my friend talked about, the shock value. Tracy Emin’s work may not be liked by anyone. But it is her work, and she is moved by her times to create those things, and history shall determine her place, as she has managed to draw attention to what she does, and that in itself is no small thing.

The question we remain with is how and why?

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