Garbage as ‘art’
I have made it something of a hobby to keep abreast of developments in the art world. We live in an insane society, but nowhere is lunacy more strident than in our galleries and art schools. Here, the pretentious run amok and the foolish rule. And guess what, the institutions, icons and symbols of Christianity and the pro-life movement are frequently the targets of these grant-aided heroes. No surprise there. In fact, we should actually be quite proud of the fact. We are the last bulwark against the dance of decay and the enemy is frightened of us.
In my former country of Britain, the highly revered Royal Academy recently ran an exhibition called Apocalypse. It featured a model of Pope John Paul the Great being hit by a falling meteorite, a video made at a Nazi death camp and, quite literally, a pile of garbage.
The latter is under constant guard, because people keep throwing their own garbage on the thing. Some because they hate it and others because they assume that the work of art is simply, well, a pile of garbage. Which it is. But according to the artists behind the work, this “dents the integrity of the piece.” Quite so.
The exhibit also includes an enormous swastika, a large metal rabbit and the now apparently obligatory collection of homoerotic photographs. Whether the bunny and the boyfriends have anything in common we are not told. One can only imagine.
Over in California at the San Franciso Art Institute – quite the surprise – the issue of free speech is being debated. The centre of the controversy is one Jonathan Yegge, who was “shocked and appalled” that his work has been censored and who has assembled quite a following of people who support him.
“My work is an exploration of the master-slave dialectic in Hegel and it’s firmly rooted in the classical Western tradition,” says Yegge. “It’s absolutely outrageous that it should have been banned.”
The 46-year-old artist’s piece consists of the following. A man is blindfolded, has his hands tied behind his back and is placed in front of a video camera. Then Yegge performs various sexual acts on the willing figure and these are reciprocated. These include acts quite appallingly perverse, including the consumption of bodily waste.
“It was pure Hegelian dialecticism,” defended Yegge. “Thesis, antithesis and synthesis.” Even so, the gallery to which he presented the video footage or “living art” refused to accept it, leading to demonstrations outside their office. A representative of the gallery told the press that, “We felt it was dangerous, both morally and medically.” Coming from a gallery with a reputation for encouraging some pretty ridiculous stuff, this was criticism, indeed.
One of Yegge’s main supporters responded that the refusal was “just a knee-jerk response from a bunch of philistines who know nothing. They should realize that we are the future. Van Gogh faced the same.”
The Dutch master cut off his ear lobe, of course, in a moment of madness. Goodness knows what Mr. Yegge might try to amputate when he becomes upset. One can only hope that there is a video camera present at the time. And a good doctor who is pretty quick with a needle and thread.
Here, in good old Canada, I have seen in publicly funded galleries pictures of men being crucified, literally, in bizarre acts of sado-masochism, accompanied by full-sized racks and other instruments of sexual bondage and
torture. When I laughed out loud at one monstrosity, I was told to be quiet, as “real art requires concentration.”
I have seen an enormous photograph of a naked woman pulling a piece of paper between her legs. Underneath the photo was the paper itself, covered in dried menstrual blood. It was accompanied by an explanation of the purpose of the exhibit, none of which seemed to be in understandable English.
I have seen an entire wall of a Toronto gallery taken up with what appeared to be dozens of children’s drawings of penises. When I asked the person in charge what it all meant, I was told that I was “obviously unsympathetic to the spirit of the event” and was then ignored.
If any of this shocks you, know that it is too late to just turn away in disgust. If good people close their eyes, bad people will not show respect, but contempt. It is now time to learn and to fight back. God give you strength for the fight, because it’s going to be messy. The most important struggles usually are.
Coren can be booked for public speaking engagements at www.michaelcoren.com.