"Blessed Art Thou" by Kate Kretz
I've discussed controversial art on this blog in the past- it is a topic that will never go away. Thus, I will venture into this issue once again- I look forward to replying to your comments.
What makes a work of art offensive? What causes thousands to lash out against one work of art while praising another? Are people offended for what they feel the work portrays- or are they offended because it reveals the inner workings of their own lives... their psychological fears and frailties.
Controversial art has been at the forefront of many heated discussions for centuries (Many of which have stemmed from religious reasons). However, since the 1990s (with the advent of the internet) the controversy over controversial art has seemed to become more of a focus in the media and in our daily lives. More people are aware of 'controversial' works than ever before. Thus, more people are offended.
Each passing year brings with it works that are considered hateful, unjust, or morally wrong- yet these works are often created for that very reason! Created to place a spotlight on current events in order to express the changes that are occurring in our society. So, what are the offended so afraid of? The art? Or what we, as a society, have become? Are we really that bad? Or is it just some form of widespread defense mechanism working overtime?
Last time I wrote about this issue I reflected on the work of Andreas Serrano, Chris Ofili, and several others. Times have changed and with it has come new controversial works- for example, David Cordero's "Blessing," which casts Barack Obama as Jesus, Cosimo Cavallaro's "My Sweet Lord," a life-size nude male posed as if crucified and cast in chocolate like Peter Cottontail, Kate Kretz, who painted "Blessed Art Thou," the controversial image of Angelina Jolie hovering in a cloud above a checkout line in a Wal-Mart store. New works- same old controversy!
All of these works have offended thousands of observers. Why? Why are people so offended by these works? Is it because they involve aspects of religion? Or is it because of concerns that can only be discovered from within the observer who is offended?
Personally, I think the offended- more often than not- are outraged due to their own 'inner demons' or neurosis . I think it is more of an issue of self-doubt in regards to faith and the direction society is going. I honestly think that people are not so much offended by these works for what they are as much as they are offended because these works are reminders of their failure to live up to their religious or social principles. In other words (borrowing an old expression), outrage over these works is like the pot calling the kettle black.
These works are no more controversial than a guy wearing a 'God Sucks' shirt at your local mall. The offended simply take their inner frustration out on the 'scapegoat'- art makes an easy target- a painting can't talk back. What do you think?
Take care, Stay true,