Terror or Terrible Art?
Art Appreciation is Subjective:
A Case Study
Chilean artist Marco Evaristti is confirming his reputation as one of Latin
America’s most controversial artists through his exhibition, Justice at
a Naked Lunch, at Santiago’s Animal Gallery. According to ananova.com,
among the work shown are paintings done by heroin addicts whose media include
“heroin, milk, and cockroach poison,” in addition to “the
blood of Israeli victims of terrorist attacks.” Evaristti does emphasize
a personal touch. Not only did he inject his painters with heroin himself, but
he also collected the blood of the Israeli terror victims.
Apparently Evaristti does not see a problem with using human blood shed involuntarily.
As reported by ananova.com, he said, “It is rubbish that would be cleaned
away. What I do is recycle the waste.”
Evaristti made a name for himself when he installed blenders containing goldfish
in a gallery space and invited viewers to “liquidize the fish.”
Art patrons can also look forward to Evaristti’s next project, of which
ananova.com reports, “The Jewish artist told newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias
that his next project is to have a mutual blood transfusion with an Arab man.”
However, American art lovers shouldn’t hold their breath while waiting
for his work to be shown in the states. Our guess is that customs won’t
let Evaristti’s work into the country.
Good News for the Scots
A painting that has been hanging in Scotland’s National Galleries was
thought to be a copy, and relatively worthless, for about 150 years. However,
the painting’s value of £5,000 has increased to £2 million
since the work has been cleaned and thus revealed the signature Canaletto. The
picture, according to ananova.com, “illustrates gondoliers and sailors
at work in 18th century Venice...”
The director of the National Galleries, Sir Timothy Clifford, told the Sunday
Times, “This picture came from a very distinguished bequest and was always
thought to be an inferior workshop painting — in other words, a pastiche
in the style of Canaletto.”
Ananova.com adds, “Born in 1697, Canaletto, or Giovanni Antonio Canal,
was known for romanticised versions of landscapes and urban settings. The churches
and canals of Venice were a frequent subject.”
Why This George?
Countless people have defaced the image of George Washington before. How many
dollar bills have you seen with mustaches, black eyes, or countless other embellishments?
But few have gone to the lengths that Robert Gray went to.
In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to wire reports, Gray allegedly
“glued on a computer image depicting a fake view of the World Trade Center
attack” on Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 “Washington Crossing the
Delaware.” The painting suffered no permanent damage.
Robert Gray, a former employee at the museum, was arrested when he returned
to the Met and was recognized. He was charged with felony criminal mischief.
All we’re wondering is, why this presidential George? In our humble opinion,
he defaced the wrong president!
Art or a terrorist threat? In December, art student Clinton Boisvert completed
an assignment for his foundation sculpture class at the School of Visual Arts
in New York. The assignment? “To situate art in a public place.”
Boisvert did just that with his 37 black boxes. He wrote the word “Fear”
on each of them and taped the boxes in the Union Square subway station. Passengers
and authorities had no idea what the boxes were. According to The New York Times,
the station was closed while “the bomb squad examined each box, dusted
for fingerprints, and checked for hazardous materials.” While some feared
a possible bomb threat, others wondered if the boxes had anything to do with
the then-impending transit strike.
None of the above. Boisvert, a student from Michigan, apparently had no idea
that his public art project would situate him in a very public place: jail.
But once his black boxes had given him a dose of his own fear, he contacted
a lawyer and turned himself into the authorities. He might face charges of reckless
endangerment. But not to worry, this Michigan boy has learned his lesson. “He
feels so bad,” his lawyer stated.
While Boisvert may be dealing with the legal ramifications of his actions, he
probably didn’t realize he’d have an even nastier set of individuals
to deal with: art critics. Everyone from the Times to the smaller, alternative
press have criticized his work, either for being “idiotic” or for
not taking his message far enough. Don’t worry, Boisvert, you can never
Illustration by Rebecca Kramer