Thursday, June 14, 2007

Art or Smut?

This is a somewhat beautiful sculpture of a pregnant woman called, the Virgin Mother by British bad-boy artist, Damien Hirst. The bronze sculpture is roughly two-and-a-half storeys high and stands on plaza of the Lever House at Park Avenue and 5oth Street. I said the sculpture is "somewhat beautiful" because you are looking at the pretty side of the woman. The other side of the sculpture shows the anatomy of her body beneath the skins and muscles. Click here to see the other side of her body.

Damien Hirst is considered the "shock jock" of contemporary art because most of his work, in my opinion, are created to elicit shock and horror from the audience. Among his most recognizable and shocking art pieces are a tiger shark cut into three sections, and a cow and calf sliced into half cross-sectionally, all preserved in formaldehyde. Despite his outrageous stunts, he is extremely successful (i.e., wealthy) and his work, highly collectible.

What do you think? Has contemporary art gone too far or will future generations look at this as a ground breaking trend, like we do now with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein?

26 comments:

Karola&Pamp said...

You're right. This side is much better than the other.
I think today art should shock people, because if not people don't pay attention of it. Maybe in the past they're very little aritsts. Today almost everywhere we can see art-works. If it's just a normal sculpture we see it and forget. If it shock us we can talk about it.
But there is a question where is a border of art.

Nathalie said...

Oh my, what a shocker!!!!
I'm not sure I could cope with such anatomic detail on my way to work every day. Thanks for being kind to us and showing the best side of her. Your photo is beautiful.

Now I'm not sure that scientific detail makes for art. Not everyone is destined to be a surgeon and can cope with gore details...

The Cooking Ninja said...

It would be too hard for me to pass by it every day looking at it. I love the other side of it - it would have been a very beautiful sculpture of a pregnant woman even without the other side of it. It's the same kind of artwork as the other guy (forgot his name) who uses real human corps and exhibits it.

GMG said...

I've seen this one last month and was impressed, probably because it was just around the corner when you're walking by and probably don't expect. But if you remember Francis Bacon Painting already in 1946 you may foresee he's going to end up as Liechtenstein or Wahrol!

pusa said...

wow this is beautiful,... but after looking at the other side i dont think so anymore, i guess it should just be in a science laboratory

alice said...

I didn't know Medicine University was on Park Avenue...;-)
Ming, about Carnac and its standing stones, you have two solutions:1-Come here and see them. 2-Look at this link Wikipedia-Carnac

alice said...

Sorry, it doesn't work...So, you can have more details on Wikipedia "alignements Carnac", have a nice day!

lv2scpbk said...

I would say it's art but I've never seen one like this before.

lv2scpbk said...

I had to go and look at the other side. I like the photo you showed on the portal but when you look at the other side, it is a shocker. I'm not sure about the other side.

Bleeding Orange said...

well, I think I like this sculpture even if I'm not convinced by Damien Hirst's work in general. But at least he makes people react and question themselves about what is acceptable or can be defined as Art. And I think, that provoking reactions/questions is an important part of an artist's job.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I do like this celebration of life. I do not like the other works you mentioned. If you have to "Shock" clients then why bother.

Some people do things like that for attention.

If you have not seen a big ant then it might be worth seeing my post this morning.
Brookville Daily Photo

isabella said...

"Shock art" is still art. I just don't have to look at it...and would definitely not spend money on it ;-)

Olivier said...

c'est de l'art et je la trouve superbe cette statue en plein manhattan. une ode à la femme.


it is art and I find it superb this statue in full Manhattan. a poem with the woman.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Ming, I just don't know how to appreciate this sculpture as a whole, I am at a loss for words!

RamblingRound said...

If artists want to shock people, then let them display it in a private gallery. But please don't put it in the public square.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I think his art has gone too far, although I would not call it smut.

To me, it tarnishes the beauty of motherhood.

I'm with Abraham....it's much harder to create beauty than shock.

poody said...

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richard said...

Like a lot of the Brit Art that came from the patronage of marketing people like Saatchi, Hirst is actually a businessman, not an artist

Sonia A. Mascaro said...

Great photo and amazing perspective, Ming! This sculpture is very interesting! I had never seen this sculptor before. Thanks for introduce him to me!

I like so much the questions you suggest on your post. But unfortunately my English is not good and it is difficult to me participate... But I love reading the answers!

Peter said...

I think I would say that I like it, althoug it has a gore side. Somehow, an artist must today, more than previously (I mean previous centuries) somehow surprise, or even schock! We have our excellent cameras today to show nice landscapes or daily or historical events, portraits etc... A plastic artist must today draw out attention with something different, if possible well ecexuted, and you cannot blame the artist here for not mastering his art.

Fabrizio ikol22 said...

Firs of all Ming almost *each* your photo is matter of smart, interesting questions. Then your photos are beautiful and this help too. This doesn't match anything with the today topic but it's a while I feel this and I caught the moment to say it.

The sculpture? I like it (left side more) !

Suz said...

I really like this piece. I definitely don't consider it smut. It is a fascinating look at human life in the making.

Jilly said...

Yes it's art because, certainly, the side you display is beautiful. It's not smut. However I can't see what it's saying. Some art that shocks 'says' something - like the portrait of Myra Hindley (known as the Moors Murderer) - her face was made up of hundreds of children's faces (ie some of those she murdered) - that said something to me but I'm not sure what Damien Hirst is saying - at least his work doesn't 'say' anything to me but perhaps I simply don't get it.

Keropok Man said...

errr....

hmmmm....

i don't know what to say!

www.DeltaMovies.com said...

I'm reminded of the sentiment that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' Perhaps the same can be said of art. However, not all art is beautiful. The bottom line for me is how does it honestly make me 'feel'..? I think the artist is a legend in his own mind and is quite the marketer.

I think some publicly displayed objects gain a degree of notoriety over time and this often leads to future perceptions that the object was 'unrecognized art' in it's own time. So, perhaps this is more a statement of belief of the artist's future perceptions more than anything. Personally, I would take another route to avoid looking at the more graphic side. However, it's clear that much talent, expertise, and time went into its creation. I can appreciate the human talent without caring much for the final result. This occurs with movies quite often.

Your pics and amazingly insightful and thought provoking. Keep up the great work.

Thanks,
B.

Anonymous said...

How does this "tarnish the beauty of motherhood"? It's a body of a pregnant woman. And If you're ever pregnant or have been pregnant-that is what you body will look/looked like. That is the inside. There is a fetus in there as well and skin, muscles, bone..everything. It's straightforward. It doesn't make pregnancy all magical and rainbows and everything the the world likes to paint it out to be. It's real. 2 bodies in one and the main body carrying the other and shows how it's done. It is an odd thing to put out so open, but at the same time what's wrong with a little education thrown at you. If this country was a little more open to being educated and paying attention to what's/who's around you-we'd probably be in a lot better place and probably get along much better. If seeing the reality of pregnancy and the human body is disgusting, how can you say that motherhood is beautiful? That's pretty screwed up...