Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Poop Art

One of my recurring arguments here is that true Culture, in the highest sense, is generally not made through 'transgression', but through sublimation; it's not an attack on all orders, but an individual's adaptation to them, a means of reaching a bit higher than established order.

The problem then with the art world's ongoing valoration of transgression for the sake of transgression is that it eventually amounts to infantilization- we eventually have to transgress culture itself and return to a precultural infantile state.

Which leads us to Exhibit One- Excrement Sculptures. Now on view at the Musée de l'Homme.

10 comments:

Holly said...

Not at all clear that a video on making sculptures out of poo is really necessary. It doesn't not enhance the experience, at least not in the same way a scratch 'n' sniff gallery brochure would.

Rufus said...

They're probably trying to corner the fetishist market. I would guess that there's not a great public rush to see this exhibit though.

Hiromi said...

I'm waiting with baited breath for the follow-up vomit Venuses. I don't know nuthin' 'bout art, but in the art world in general, are poo artists considered cutting edge or part of the lunatic fringe?

Holly said...

Poo artistry comes and goes in phases. I think the last big one was a guy doing tempera paint enemas + consequent splatter painting (80s), and before that, a guy who canned his crap (60s). Greg tells me someone painted the Virgin in poo, as well, late 90s, maybe?

Holly said...

Oh, right, sorry, to answer your actual question, Hiromi: Poo artists have their apologists, and everyone else hates those people, either secretly or openly. Playing with your own poo is in the DSM-IV, so you can probably guess where I come down on this issue.

Hiromi said...

Wait a minute...that poo Virgin, wasn't it elephant poo? And wasn't it an ethnic-looking Virgin surrounded by cutouts of the nether regions of bent-over nekkid women from porn mags?

Rufus said...

I'm not really a poop devotee either, but I do remember this one from 2002-

http://www.newmuseum.org/more_exh_cloaca.php

Wim Delvoye worked with scientists to design a machine that reproduced the entire digestive system- he fed in food and 27 hours later, it pumped out crap. I can imagine a good sci-fi movie in which the machine goes haywire and threatens humanity.

Holly said...

Hmm. The Cloaca is actually pretty interesting, although I think maybe the curator (possibly also the artist?) has misunderstood something about the nature of aversion to bodily wastes. That's a survival mechanism, and should not be placed equal to shame about (for example) nudity. Same deal with the urge to hide illness--that is no more or less than the cat going under the couch when it's not feeling well, and sane people don't spend much time accusing the cat of feeling shame at that.

Yes, the Virgin in question had an elephant dung breast and porn poses for a halo, Hiromi, you are correct. The artist was Chris Ofili.

I guess this begs the question of whether artificial crap and animal crap actually constitute poo artistry. I'm guessing so. There was also an italian artist who booked a gallery for a one-man show, and then filled it with horses. There was a lot of crap, but I'm not sure that was the point, if you see what I mean.

Hiromi said...

"Cloaca" is like a giant prank. I don't know if that's art per se, but it cracked me up.

Rufus said...

There's a certain amount of technical wizardry to that one too. I was actually impressed that they pulled it off. Not so much for the excrement sculptures. Although, in that case, I would like to be in the gallery to hear the first tourist say, "What's so special about poo sculpting? Hell, I can do that!"