|The Chapman Brothers|
Contemporary masters of bad taste, according to Woodward, are Paul McCarthy, Lisa Yuskavage, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, John Currin, Sarah Lucas, Albert Oehlen, Richard Prince, Tracy Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Jeff Koons, and Takashi Murakami among others. All of these artists are “blue chip” and thrive on being hated. Some are better at being hated than others… for example, Jake and Dinos Chapman really get under my skin. And I should add that they are all easy to hate not only because of their disgusting, kitschy, perverted art but also because of their extraordinary monetary success… I can’t help but to think “some moron paid millions for that!” And when John Waters says “the work we hate today is often the work we end up liking and admiring in the future” I have to strongly disagree. To base your artistic tastes on deduction, coming to conclusions about the future based on what has happened in the past, is to surrender your intuition in favor of an idea in your head. It’s one thing to genuinely like this type of art from the bottom of your heart, but it’s on quite another level to like it because you think you’ll like it in the future.
Here are few more thoughts I have about these bad tasting blue chip artists...
We, the audience, sometimes forget about the increadible craftsmenship that goes into making art like Hirst's Unicorn, or Piccinini and Chapman's sculptures. That only is reason enough to see their art... even if they personally have not laid a hand on their work.
Can you imagine what will be going through Damien Hirst’s and Jake Chapman's head when they’re at the time of their deaths? Whats their inner life like? It’s hard to imagine because their art is entirely abscent of basic normal human qualities like compassion and spirituality.
I'm an art educator and I recently heard a story from a co-worker of an obnoxious middle school boy that was impossible to deal with. He gave everyone around him a headache. His behavior was appauling. But everytime he was threatened by his teacher to try to make him stop he would quickly retort with some applicapable civil liberty law or education law pertaining to student rights. Anyway, these artists are just like this boy... they push your every button and there's nothing you can do about it because they know what they need to know to get what they want... and that to annoy the hell out of you.
Will this art live on in the future and the artists be regarded as geniuses by posterity? Who cares? The real question, as far as I'm concerned, is... would I buy this art and hang it in my house so that I would see it everyday? I don't think so. Give me a Matisse, Tapies, Guston, Basquiat, Martin Ramirez, Puryear, Ignacio Iturria, Hockney, even an Otto Dix or Peter Saul... but don't torment me by installing a Jeff Koons!
Anyway, I am so thankful that there are artists out there creating work like this. Someone has to do it and I'm glad it's not me. I'm curious to see how the next generation of bad taste artists are going to offend us.