Friday, October 17, 2008

Is it Art? Student creates art with feline corpse

Is it Art? Student creates art with feline corpse

Apparently there has been some controversy at Alfred University over an art student who displayed a dead cat as art. The art student had placed the altered corpse on display in an exhibit space located within the university student-operated Moka Joka coffee shop. So far the identity of the art student has yet to be made public. However, according to a Morning Times reporter the school has acknowledged that the student had posed the decayed corpse of the cat in a manner that made it appear as if it was in the process of being electrocuted by electrical wires that had been forced into its decaying flesh.

According to the article the student had discussed the controversial piece during an art class shortly before placing it on display. The piece, which was not preserved, was removed by campus officials due to concern over student safety and health within a location where food is served. However, some individuals are defending the controversial piece as being no different than the preserved animal corpses that British artist Damien Hirst has utilized within the context of his work. Maybe art critic Robert Hughes was correct when he suggested that Damien Hirst is responsible for the decline in contemporary art? What say you?

If an animal corpse in a Hirst piece can be considered art does that mean an animal corpse that has been utilized by an art student within his or her work should be considered acceptable as well? Or is it an issue of ‘good art, bad art’? Where should the line of ethics be drawn?

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Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor


Anonymous said...

This example shows how chaotic the art world is at this time and how messed up schools are today. Art students today barely know how to draw. I guess finding a dead cat on the road is easier that training real skills?

josephbolstad said...

Of course it's acceptable as art. In addition to Hirst, Lee Bul has exhibited sequined rotting fish at MoMA, and Joseph Beuys famously lectured to a dead hare, so this isn't new territory.

I don't see this as an issue of censorship but of logistics. Obviously, if the artist tries to show this in a coffeehouse, it's going to get tossed. My guess is he or she was looking for extra attention and purposely placed in the space with the intent of disruption.

Is it art? Yes. Does it sound interesting? Not particularly, from what you've described. Is it worth much attention? I, for one, don't really think so.

Balhatain said...

Hi Joseph,

The odd thing about this story is that the student desires to remain anonymous. Often it seems that students do this sort of thing to get their Warhol minutes. Not in this case. Thus, I can only assume that the student was not doing it for shock alone.

Thanks for mentioning Lee Bul. That artist had stepped out of my memory.