Saturday, August 19, 2006

To London, to London, to see a dead pig..

is a refrain that you won't be hearing in the hinterlands of England nowadays, thanks to the folks at Newlyn Art Gallery and their philistine outreach program as they bring the cutting edge work of performance artist Kira O'Reilly, who boldly but sensitively explores the unknown in her performance piece "Inthewrongplaceness" where she cradles a dead pig while naked, to such culturally deprived, provincial cow towns as Penzance, and possibly even Bristol, in the future. James Green, the gallery's director, sees the program as an important cultural growth opportunity for the outlying regions, saying "In terms of the gallery's view, we feel very strongly that we should provide audiences in the region with opportunities to see the kind of works that they have to go to London to experience."

Bravo! No longer will those poor blighted souls, whose only crime has been to have been born outside London and to have been too poor and/or stupid to leave, be deprived of the rich, vital cultural experiences to be gleaned from crossing the barrier separating naked woman from dead pig, a barrier ignorantly imposed by our patriarchal and swino-phobic western cultural hegemon. To quote O'Reilly:

This work emerges from research with skin biopsies from newly dead pigs, cultivating the skin cells in vitro, in preparation to work from a biopsy of my own body’s skin.

The work left me with an undercurrent of pigginess, unexpected fantasies of mergence and interspecies metamorphoses began to flicker into my consciousness; making fiercely tender and ferocious identifications with the pig as stand in, double, twin, doll, imaginary self.


Lead the way, Kira, lead the way!

6 Comments:

Blogger Harry Eagar said...

A big part of the problem, of course, is the gentlemen of the press.

No doubt if this woman tried to get a mention based on some less unconventional art, we would turn her away.

The least developed faculty of the publicist is the ability to say, 'No.'

To take a local current example, some useless Briton is trying to become the first man to circumnavigate the globe 'vertically' (as he somewhat illiterately puts it).

He's having a hard time of it, what with uncooperative Russian apparatchiks, broken gear and bad weather. My paper is ignoring him, but he is getting breathless attention in the big city.

Apparently, nobody over there thought to say, 'Who cares that the globe has not yet been circumnavigated vertically?'

August 19, 2006 5:24 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

I get why these people get publicity, but what I don't get is how they find support.

Who in their right minds finds themselves going out for a night on the town, taking a date to dinner and then to watch a naked woman cradle a dead pig ??
At the very least, it sounds excruciatingly boring.

But then again, I also didn't get why Harry's anecdote about burying industrial raw materials at a museum was "art" either.

I think that it all falls into the "idle hands are the Devil's playground" category. Some people do drugs, others become couch potato eating machines, and others play at "creativity" - but, lacking such, they can only come up with novelty.

August 19, 2006 11:33 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Oro,
The answer to your question is in the question. If you can get publicity, you'll find support. Attention is money. Newlyn Gallery is guaranteed a sellout run for for O'Reilly's show, without needing to spend a single ad dollar. The "arts" are the new circus freak shows.

August 20, 2006 7:50 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

It occurs to me, however, that while I would not cross the street to see a naked woman cradle a dead pig and would jeer at people who do, I would not jeer at people who travel 10,000 miles to Melanesia to see a naked woman suckle a live pig.

Wouldn't go that far myself, though.

August 20, 2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

We took our 12 year old to Tanglewood last month for a special afternoon/evening concert by different ensembles placed all over their stupendously beautiful grounds. Hoping to introduce the little savage to the glories of his culture, I hoped for some classic accessible stuff--Vivaldi, Mozart, etc. What we got were screeching cacophonies from Stravinsky and Bernstein, a seamless, toneless score from an Oliver Stone movie and a little-known Gershwin piece that quickly proved why it is little-known.

I seethed through it all, but the rest of the crowd went wild and all gushed to their neighbours about how wonderful it was. OK, I'm not the universal standard of good taste, de gustibus non est disputandum, yada, yada, but I couldn't help wondering what was really going on in their heads. How much of this was that they were really moved by these odes to chaos and how much was keeping up well-established liberal appearances and straining to avoid being judgmental?

The young lady is fully protected from criticism, of course, except from conservatives, whose fascist view that art is the crafting of form and order out of disorder and the mundane doesn't count. Anyone within the art world, or even anyone who prides himself on his modern tastes, knows full well the ostracism that awaits the dissenter. But, Brit's excellent piece on Paris shows how we really do know what is beautiful and what isn't---we just can't say so. Almost all of what is pre-dates the 20th century, with even much of the 19th just humming along in neutral. One of the most amusing things about the modern European is how he will disown his entire heritage and culture in a fit of postmodern rebellion and celebrate the most gawdawful art, architecture and literature imaginable until he meets up with an American and starts debating who has the richer society culturally. At that point he suddenly becomes a card-carrying member of the ancien regime.

August 21, 2006 5:59 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

One of the most amusing things about the modern European is how he will disown his entire heritage and culture in a fit of postmodern rebellion and celebrate the most gawdawful art, architecture and literature imaginable until he meets up with an American and starts debating who has the richer society culturally. At that point he suddenly becomes a card-carrying member of the ancien regime.

That's natural: it's ok for you to criticise your own appearance, wife, family, sports team, country etc - but it's a different matter when an outsider does it.

But comparing the pig woman to Michelangelo is meaningless. She's not trying to create something aesthetically beautiful, she's trying to push 'boundaries'.

That today's culture shock is tomorrow's mainstream is a truism. The impressionists are the most-used example, but what about Andy Warhol's multicoloured prints of Monroe? Can't get much more mainstream than that.

You can make a decent living painting pretty pictures and accurate portraits, but you won't make a name in the 'art world' that way because the art world serves a different purpose.

Of course, the problem for conceptual artists today is that Duchamp took it to its logical conclusion, and said everything there was to 'say' nearly 90 years ago.

August 21, 2006 6:30 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home