Prudish Parisians

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25 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    Mr. McCarthy’s work underwhelms me. It doesn’t seem to be that shocking at all. It just seems something like a teenager would pull off if they had the budget. You can just imagine the artist smirking somewhere with an expression that says “aren’t I a naughty boy, I’m sticking it to the bourgeoisie” on his face.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Isn’t this a logical descendant of Jeff Koons’ oeuvre? Koons’ art derives its message, in no small measure, from the fact that he is able to sell recapitulated pop culture schlock like puppies, balloon dogs, and Popeyes, for tens of millions of dollars, pulling one over on the bourgeois out there in the open for everyone to see that he’s doing it. So the Giant Green Butt Plug is just an extension of this pop-art-as-meta-joke-played-at-the-expense-of-self-appointed-sophisticates concept.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Its like a real life version of the Emperor Has No Clothes.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:


        Maybe. I go back and forth on the work of Jeff Koons. I really like some of his pieces like Bunny and Puppy but others not as much. There is also a lot of debate about how much hoodwinking you see in the art of Damien Hirst. A lot of his art seems to fall under Poe’s law and you can’t tell whether it is a parody or not. Is he critiquing capitalism and commodification with his jewel encrusted skull or is he just trying to get a lot of money? Both?

        I am not sure I fully agree with my brother’s sense that this is shocking for the sake of being shocking. Maybe it is but that seems like an easy accusation to put on any art meant to shock and provoke as a way of dismissal. Now the White Snow exhibit at the Armory was rather perverse, scatological, pornographic and intense.

        How do we determine when art is being petulant and adolescent and shocking for the sake of shock and when it is being sincerely provocative? Is there such a difference?

        Now I am more inclined to defend McCarthy and Hirst than I am to criticize them. This is mainly because I have an intense loathing of a lot of a lot of the art that gets held up as “pretty”. There is a lot of traditional and representational art that I love like the old Dutch Masters and JMW Turner (who is a kind of proto-modernist in my view). But there is nothing as loathsome to me as the over-romanticism of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who seem to be adored by the critics and dislikers of modern art and abstract expressionism. The pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood is just too pretty, too romantic, and too false to me. There is more truth in Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic series than there is in that picture of Ophelia floating down the river or the one of the Knight on his knees in front a Princess with long flowing hair. There is no truth in those paintings at all!

        Now I happen to potentially be weird because I find modern art to be much more aesthetically pleasing than the pre-Raphaelites and other 19th century narrative painters. Give me Rothko, Max Weber, Wayne Thiebaud, Frank Stella, Cy Twombly, Richard Serra, and company any day over anything that happened after the death of Turner but before the rise of the Impressionists.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

        This is why I constantly harp on Marcel Duchamp. If art can be said to be “evil”, he’s one of the guys we need to dig up and execute posthumously. Like Cromwell.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Koons was a commodities broker and he’s still a commodities broker.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Burt Likko says:

        @leeesq , You call it shocking for the sake of shocking, but I think that give the piece too much credit. Are that many people really shocked by it? Maybe I hang out with a jaded crowd, but I expect more eyerolls than gasps.Report

  2. Damon says:

    “looks like a giant green butt plug”? It doesn’t LOOK like one at all. It IS one!Report

    • trizzlor in reply to Damon says:

      >>It IS one!

      Is it accurate to describe an object as *being* something if it’s intended purpose can never physically be realized; indeed, if it has been specifically designed not to function as intended? As of this writing, the object is capable of functioning as a Christmas Tree and not a Giant Butt Plug. However, were one to create a Giant Butt, the object will have then become a Giant Butt Plug, while undergoing no explicit physical transformation itself. These are the complex questions Mr. McCarthy’s work inserts into our artistic discourse.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Damon says:

      Somewhere off the coast of Japan, in the dark depths where no light can reach, a massive and terrible thing stirs from its slumber. It senses that something has gone missing; a possession so fundamentally intimate, its absence leaves a void aching to be filled. This violation, this precious-napping must be rectified; must be avenged. It has seen the city of the villains in its dreams.

      The beast, neither gorilla nor whale, and with hatred burning in its radioactive breast with the heat of a thousand suns, swishes its gargantuan tail and readies itself for the long undersea journey to The City of Light…Report

    • trizzlor in reply to Damon says:

      this precious-napping must be rectified;

      I see what you did there.Report

  3. Glyph says:

    “The Shocking Arts Shock Again”

    How many Shockers would you say the art world has provided recently? Three?

    Few enough to count on one hand, anyway.Report