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Re: My God!!


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jun 18 2001 - 13:18:05 PDT

> My husband heard something on talk radio the other night--now consider the
> source--but I wondered if anyone has heard of this. Supposedly there is a
> German artist who purchased a human cadaver from Russia and stuffed the
> guy and made him complete with drawers that open to reveal intestines etc.
> That's going the Sensation show one better. What do you think?? new urban
> legend? Sid

Don't know about this, but it's probably a reality.
I'm not so offended.
I am thinking of the the history of artists and the body - dead or alive.
My students are totally alarmed to know that Michelangelo used bodies to
study anatomy.
I'm thinking of the photographer Joel Peter Witkin. He uses cadavers in his
photographs. If you investigate his intent, his content, his artist's
statements, you can come to some understanding of what he does. I find his
photos provocative, mesmerizing, hidden with mystery, offensive sometimes,
but I respect his intent.

What concerns me is the intent of many contemporary artists. I fear that
that sensationalism and shock is viewed as creative. We, as art educators,
more than ever, have to demand artistic intent, otherwise offense as a means
to recognition is without regard to historic artistic intention.

We, as a society, have many questions and problems to resolve about death.
I'm finding the new series on HBO very curious - "Six feet Under"

If the artist is truly doing his/her job, he/she is ahead of societal views
and questioning, and making us question.

There are plenty of historical examples of artists being offensive.
Unfortunately in the 21st century the offense may have to delve into areas
most of us may not be capable of dealing with; at least not comfortably.

I think the best we can do is recognize that ethical issues are running far
ahead of us. That the questions that face our younger generation are far
more overwhelming than we ever imagined. That we have to provide the
opportunity for the exploration of these issues with foresight and
understanding and ignore our own personal prejudices and biases - and
not hinder any opportunity for personal expression.

I'm just thinking on-line
always trying to come to some resolve as to what I want my students to leave
me with


P.S. I find contemporary German art so suicidal and angst ridden I'm not
sure it can be viewed without context of recent history