http://www.makepovertyhistory.org.nz beautiful monsters: December 2005 Archives

December 05, 2005

But is it art?


adventmary

Iíve had questions of art on the brain lately. Weíve been putting together an advent art installation at St Andrewís on The Terrace, and the past week Iíve been working with paper-mache and chicken wire, been throwing lines over the beams, up by the ceiling of the church, been hunting around shops for a black baby doll, and wrapping condoms up in gold ribbons.


immaculate2

Recently at Spirited Conversations, Jo Randerson talked about how she believes that art is inherently marginal. If it doesnít challenge, if it doesnít provoke a reaction, if it isnít a minority view, itís not art. At least, I think thatís what she was saying. Itís an interesting idea, though Iím not entirely sure I agree. I love art that provokes, and stirs me up... but Iím actually a bit conservative in my tastes. If itís too weird and postmodern.

Martin Creed, the acclaimed 2001 winner of The Turner Prize for new art, Ďcreated' an empty room where the lights would go off and on every five seconds appropriately titled, ĎLights Going On and OffĒ. Creed has also works titled 'a doorstop fixed to a floor to let a door open only 45 degrees' and Ďa sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball'. You get the idea. Is it art?

Xiao Yu grafted the head of a human foetus onto the body of a bird in his artwork ďRuanĒ.

I want art to be creative, not just controversial. I guess I still hold onto the idea that you have to show you can keep to the rules before you break them. And that... itís not art just cos you say it is. You have to work to make it art. A toilet is just a toilet, even if you say itís art. You have to work, change it, to make it art.

Yuís human-bird creation combines the parts in an original and startling way. It is provocative, and has a haunting beauty, despite being deeply disturbing. Is it art? I think so... whether it is morally right is another question.

If you come along to St Andrewís you will find a black baby in a manger, underneath a tree hung with red ribbons... the little town of Bethlehem under siege... a mother and baby suspended from the ceiling... Mary giving birth to a tree... Is it art? Youíll have to come along and find out for yourself. Iím just hoping that the condoms on the Christmas tree wonít cause the kind of reaction that Bette has been coping with on the L word. Donít you love that show? Monday is my favourite day of the week.


adventbethlehem

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