Thursday, August 14, 2008

But Is It Art? 2

Until recently I had never heard the name of performance artist Paul McCarthy. Now, thanks to an act of God, I have. I do not feel better for as much.

McCarthy was already famous in certain circles for seminal works like, "Santa Claus with Buttplug," an inflatable work or balloon that was displayed in Antwerp, perhaps as a try-out for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Whatever the reason Macy's did not include the work in its parade.
Undeterred the artist has not produced a new inflatable piece, a dog turd the size of a house. Recently, it was placed in the sculpture garden of the Paul Klee Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

I can only guess at the meaning, but I assume that the artist wants us to imagine the dog that produced said turd. And that would point us to the giant Snoopy balloon that we have so often seen floating down Central Park South on Thanksgiving Day.

Anyway, a coterie of curators must have decided that the turd was art. After all, someone chose to put it in a museum.

As a product placement this was intriguing. Did the artist and the curators want to defile the sculpture garden and the work that was exhibited there?

If so, the ultimate meaning is clear. If you cannot create something of artistic value yourself, then you can make a name for yourself by defiling, denigrating, or, dare I say, deconstructing the work of others.

But is it art? Perhaps it is merely inflated art criticism.

We do not need to decide right away. As it happened, God did not think it was art, so He, or one of his pagan surrogates, sent a powerful gust of wind into the sculpture garden. Unceremoniously, the wind picked up the inflated dog turd and flew it 200 meters across the city where it broke a powerline and a greenhouse window before ending up in a schoolyard.

For all you or I know the artist had planned this denouement. Didn't it show us how art could deconstruct capitalist hegemony?

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