Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lice Art

Now we have Head Lice Art. Germans covered in lice in an Israeli museum -- and they claim they didn't think of the first thing that popped into MY mind when I read it was Germans doing it. Otherwise, what an incredibly stupid and boring stunt. I'm not calling it art. Kitsch is the portrayal of a world without shit (Kundera), but what's the word for the opposite, where you portray a world as nothing but shit?


Todd Camplin said...

First of all, linking to FOXNews is no way to convert artists of your aesthetic values. You have to ease them in a bit more.
In this case of whether this is art, I completely disagree with you. This is a work of art. The lice artists are using the museum as a framing device. The art museum is an artificial environment with to sole purpose of display. The work is a performance and a performance is part concept and part representational. Now the question is, was this art well thought out and executed. I would say no, because the artists admitted that they were unaware of the reference to Nazi propaganda that described Jews as "parasites". Also, if there underlining concept was to blur the line between reality and art, I think that these artists are starting with a weak concept. After all, that should be just an aspect of the concept and not the complete concept. That is like saying, ‘I want paint a picture,’ as a concept. That is to vague of a concept.
The fact that these artists didn’t know the Nazi propaganda shows that the artists either had no sense of history or they are lying. The strength of the work could be that the piece is a reverse of the propaganda on the German's part. The Germans have lice and are dirty/parasite breeders and the viewers, mostly Israelites, would be clean. This reverse role playing could help to address the past and deal with the Holocaust at a different angle. Only if the artists were smart enough to address the issue.

Troy Camplin said...

Can't help where the story was.

While perhaps I agree with Derrida that framing is an important aspect of identifying something as art, I'm not sure that it's sufficient. If we agree that all art is enframed somehow, does that necessarily mean that all things which are framed are art?

I think I address the issue of art's relationship with and to reality in my latest posting. Without the historical context, what they are doing is at best mere reality, and not all that interesting. Only if they were doing it with all the intentions you identified as being what their intentions should have been would I be willing to classify what they are doing as art. Just because something happens in a museum doesn't make it art. I want a better definition than that.

Todd Camplin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Camplin said...

A. The story was all over the internet. For example, Yahoo news and AP had the story. Whether the story was fairly reported or not, I feel the source of the story helped to frame the story with a conservative bent. I'm sorry, if you’re getting your news from FOXnews; you have lost much of your audience. Stories from FOXnews are like stories from CNN, both are pushing propaganda.
B. Although the artists' intent was not complex, the result was perceived as complex by the audience. A complex meaning came out of the performance. Sometimes an artist doesn't realize that their idea has more layers of complexity than they realized. The fact that these were Germans in Israel, with lice makes the case that it is art. If the Germans did this performance in Canada, then I would argue that the performance would have been meaningless. Sometime a performance or an object is art because of the place. The place gives the thing meaning. When you have meaning you have value judgments. And as you argue, it is time to enter a world with valuable art. I find value here.

John said...

I agree with the Stuckists, who said that art that has to be set in a gallery to be considered art isn't really art at all.

Troy Camplin said...

I like that criteria. How many frames does a work of art really need?