Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Plastic Surgery Art

If the human body is an artistic medium, should time be considered its great artist or its leading critic? At least the plastic surgeons are getting their due- I Am Art: An Expression of the Visual & Artistic Process of Plastic Surgery is now on view at Apexart in TriBeCa, NYC. The show consists of photos and videos taken before, during, and after plastic surgery.

It is a bit hard to think of this as high art- the goal, after all, looks to be achieved in standardizing people and making them, in some sense, less interesting to look at. The results in the show are certainly prettified, but also anodyne and banal: it's sort a surgical kitsch, isn't it? And given how widespread the project to alter the human body by means of technology has become, shouldn't plastic surgeons be considered as local technicians (or even perhaps akin to the village pastor)?


Holly said...

In a sense, this is the very epitome of high art--consider the idealized Greek physique statuary, and then consider how surgeons are working to bring that to life. Life imitating art? What's NOT high concept about that?

As an aside, watching someone else have their nose disassembled and rebuilt make MY nose hurt in sympathy.

Rufus said...

I guess it just reminds me more of mass production. All the photos I've seen of nose jobs ended up looking almost exactly the same- there's one model and they just repeat it indefinitely. I guess the Greeks did do the same thing basically- figuring out an ideal and repeating it. Maybe I've been ruined by living after the Romantics into thinking that artists should have some ineffable spark of genius. Of course, one really doesn't want their plastic surgeon to get creative!

Yeah, I probably should include a warning with that link. It was cringe-inducing, although not as much so as sex-change footage.

Holly said...

You ever seen or read about the guy (in NY, I think) who wants to do really artistic cosmetic surgeries? Giving people bat wings and so on?

Rufus said...

Oh, I could get behind that. There's also a woman whose art consists of having various cosmetic surgeries performed on her. David Cronenberg was thinking about making a movie based on her life, but lost interest- that was a real shame. I'll try to remember her name and post something about that.