"Weird" Art

Anyone from around Tampa will know about the MOSI exhibit called Bodies ( http://www.mosi.org/ ). Basically, some guy figured out how to plasticize real cadavers so that we can all share in the illuminating experience of seeing our internal organs still inside of a preserved human. Fascinating as this is, there is a huge controversy surrounding the exhibit. The bodies come from Asia and the original inhabitants of the bodies never gave their consent to be on display, sparking a whole ethical argument about the show. Anyway, I have not been...I had enough of that kind of deal when I went to Guanajuato, Mexico, and saw the real mummies ( http://www.questconnect.org/mexico_mummy_photos.htm ). This is the kind of thing I just don't need to see again...even though no internal organs were visible in Guanajuato. Anyway, I asked my students if they had seen the exhibit. One said she had, but it was really just a freak show sort of experience because her little brother wanted to see it for the gross-out factor. Now, I understand the value of such exhibits. We should all know about human anatomy...but, instead of just being educational, the news coverage has indeed made it into the freak show. Anyway, to each his own. I just remember the bad smell in Guanajuato...even if the air is Febreze clean, I don't think I can handle it.

Anyway, this story makes me think about the question (never to be answered) about what is art and what is the value of art? All I know is that I know it when I see it, or read it, or hear it. But, I don't care if someone else cannot validate my opinion. I even have the right to change my opinion...ah, the beauty of ART. That is life. Life is ART.

Exhibit A: A little boy I know when to the Birmingham Museum of Art ( http://www.artsbma.org/ ) recently. He took a tour with a guide and saw a few paintings of nude women and men. Several days later, when I saw him, he told me about it:

Child: "Miss Susie, I went to art museum and there was NUDITY there."
Me: "Well,what did you think about that?"
Child: "Well, I was a little freaked out and the lady at the museum [I am sure he means the tour guide] told me
that sometimes artists have to use nudity to tell about their idea."
Me: "Well, what do you think?"
Child: "I think she was crazy. It grossed me out."

Point 1: The 11-year-old is "grossed...out"...what will the man think?
Point 2: If opinions constantly are in flux, who the heck can say what art really is or what its value could possibly be?

So what do I think? I don't know about the kid, but I don't mind artful nudity. And, as for me and my taste, I will stay in my sometimes dream state and enjoy my own artful fantasies... maybe write a book that is considered to be "BAD ART", eat at cheap restaurants, sometimes go to the wine tasting at the expensive wine store near my apartment, watch Dallas and The English Patient, adore Hugh Grant and James Spader, and read George Eliot and Jayne Ann Krentz. Hell, even "Jane Eyre" was considered to be chick-lit at one time.


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katie g. said…
You need to put word verification on the blog. You can avoid spammers. As for your topic. Hmm. Art. Never been a big fan of the modern stuff. I am so lowbrow. The exibit of humans (who gave no consent) seems extremely unethical, but I guess if people want to see it, so be it. art, schmart.
dave r. said…
Art is in the sences (eye, ear, etc.) of the beholder. Art is what apeals to your sences.

dave r.

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