Monday, December 17, 2007

Brave Transgressive Artists

Warning - contains unsavoury images of an 'artistic' nature
There is a constant drip feeding of anti-Christian artistic sentiment. Do you remember Piss Christ or Chris Ofili's painting of the Virgin Mary in elephant dung.?

A recent target was an intriguing cave painting of Christ on the cross made some years ago in the West of Scotland by a teacher. How do you think the BBC would have covered any graffiti on the side of a mosque or Che Guevara on the cover of the Koran? How long do you think the perpetrators of any such offence would last if they dared offend the “prophet”?

And here is the brave boy Banksy - a furtive man who barely shows his face in public but is responsible for a large amount of graffiti “art” but who is reckoned in recent years to have made about $3M and is said to be ‘storming’ the States. His principal targets are the usual ones: the State, the US, the Police, the military. But he indulges in a dig at religion – and can you guess which religion? Yes that’s right - - a few gratuitous digs at Our Lady, a trivialisation of salvation through Faith in Our Blessed Lord. Given the prominence of Islam in recent years, surely he could be expected to say something radical – say about women’s rights in Islamic countries, or the seamier side of Muhammed’s life. A bit too edgy for Banksy.

Then how about Gilbert and George. The last big “show” was sonofagod which used Christian imagery in a pretty offensive way. Their work employs homoerotic images of young men and in the past has used urine, faeces and semen in the exhibitions. As one with children in the early years of primary school, it is easy for me to see the origins of such scatology. Most of us grow out of it by the age of majority. Not so G&G. They truly wear the emperor’s new clothes. How long would they have stayed open with a show entitled prophetofanallah? At least Nick Cohen, as ever, was willing to point out the hypocrisy. [It's so cowardly to attack the church when we won't offend Islam]

Moving beyond the visual arts how about Stewart Lee? The comedian supplements his stand up income by regular slots on BBC panel shows and the like – that’s licence-funded sponsorship of a proselytising atheist. His biggest hit was “Jerry Springer – The Opera”. I don’t have that much of a problem with JSTO – it was a bit of a puerile dig at JS-style shows (Trisha and the like) with a side-order of snooty anti-Americanism (they’re all a bunch of right-wing, stupid, trailer-park trash) but he just couldn’t resist a dig at the Almighty. It’s a slightly more coherent rage than that you get from the sort of old lady you see wandering down the road with a shopping trolley full of plastic bags muttering to herself.

But for such a brave firebrand, it’s interesting to hear how emollient he is about the Religion of Peace:

“But in the Islamic culture it is very different. To use a corporate image, Islam has always been a lot more conscientious about protecting its brand and as a satirist you need to engage with it on its own terms.”

let me translate that:

“I’m a bit of a fearty and I don’t want to get my head chopped off, so I won’t criticise Islam. I’ll just have a go at Christianity in the hope that
they’ll get Lavinia Byrne or “Bishop” “Tom” Butler in to debate it on Radio

The artistic world is turning into the equivalent of the school bully – picking easy targets that won’t hit back, gathering a gang of grinning admirers to show off their cruel picking apart of others’ sensitivities. Pathetic.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm with you all the way on this one...

9:01 PM  

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