Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bigger is Better

Paul McCarthy's White Snow Dwarf
Day 12 (12/18/11)

Bigger is better, or so it would seem in the art world. The same train of thought which brought you the Hummer, Escalade, and Suburban is coursing through the world of art. If you have one battered stool you have junk or a piece of furniture from the art room but if you have stack of battered stools you have art. I must admit that I like most of Wiewie’s art. He is one of those people who can design even with old stools. I am not sure that it is worth thousands of dollars however. When I follow the same principle in creating art with junk on the bike trail I give it up for free. Don’t get me wrong, I also like some large art. Walking into a room and being accosted by one of Chuck Close’s works is an experience second to none but most people wouldn’t have the room to house one. Having the area to put one of these large pieces of art becomes the impetuous for their existence. It is another way to keep “high” art out of the hands of the little people. Another prerequisite for art to be worth millions, it seems, is shock value. Again, in Gopnik’s article he features three large sculptures by Paul McCarthy, pornographic renditions based on the Snow Whites dwarfs. Here we have the best of both worlds, it is large and revolting. I have never claimed to be a person of great intellect and perhaps if I was I would understand the obvious significance of dwarf with phalluses or Santa with a butt plug. Art of this type always reminds me of Charles Biederman’s statement from the 40s and I paraphrase badly; when the surrealist opened the door to feces and genitalia in art all art would become about feces and genitalia. It seems that in many ways he hit the nail on the head especially in regards to the avant garde. I have always defended shock art as a means of getting people to think but again does a large pornographic dwarf deserve a six figures price tag. I can go into just about any public restroom and find the same type of renderings on the stall. It is interesting that for all artists have tried to demystify art and bring it to the people it has managed to stay the providence of the wealthy.

Paul McCarthy's Santa with Plug

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