Act 4 Controversial Art


Red neck is a clay sculpture by Ken Price. It’s dimensions are about 25 cm each and it can be found at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

The first thing this sculpture brings to my mind is some kind of deformed sea creature and human hybrid. The appendices make me think of veins or intestines, and the mostly red colour enhances that mental image. The asymmetrical shape and hole in the not-quite-middle make this work of art seem somehow threatening and alive. I could imagine turning my back and finding that the thing has grown in size and is now wiggling its tentacle-like appendices, reaching for me. A definitely unpleasant idea to get from a work of art.

I can’t find a meaning for this piece of art. As an artist I understand that not every piece you make needs to have a deeper meaning, but one would imagine that if your work is featured at the MOMA, it should have at least one. I can’t really even connect the name to this sculpture – yes, it’s red, mostly, but what does the neck part have to do with anything? Or does this sculpture depict a ‘red neck’ person, maybe? If so, it’s not very flattering, not at all.

MOMA website, this artwork, visited 29.5.2011

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The building itself isn’t so special, after all its just concrete and steel, but the story surrounding it is very fascinating. As most of  you probably know, North Korea is an isolated and not-so-capitalistic country located in Asia. Construction began in 1987 and they had planned to complete it in 1989. North Korea (and Soviet Union) wanted to show to USA and its allies that communists can build skyscrapers too. Ryugyong Hotel was planned to become a symbol of communism and North Korea. But as the nineties came, along came some unexpected problems too. Soviet Union transformed to Russia and North Korea’s best friend had become a capitalistic country. When money flow from Soviet Union stopped they just didn’t have the money and materials to build a glorious hotel. So the ragged hotel with a crane on the top of it stood 16 years in Pyongyang. At the same time, western and capitalist countries were building new and even more glorious hotels and skyscrapers. It definitely became a symbol of North Korea and communism, but not the way North Korea would have wanted it.

In 2008 construction started again, but this time by a egyptian construction company. They have planned to finish the building in 2012, but I doubt it. I would like to see it finished as the architecture isn’t that bad either. The story of the Ryugyong Hotel as bit tragicomic and it is very interesting to see what will happen to it in the future.

Lynda Benglis' "Modern Art Number 1" is made out of bronze and aluminium.

The picture above is taken of “Modern Art Number 1”, an artwork by Lynda Benglis. It is currently on display in New Museum, New York and will be there until June 19th. I usually have a special place in my heart for eccentric and peculiar art, but this does nothing for me. It doesn’t feed my aesthetic, or artistic eye in any ways and looks more like an experiment than an actual finished artwork. For me, art is supposed to be captivating either by its beauty, or by its ugliness. This one however is quite boring and I can’t grasp what Lynda Benglis was trying to portray with it. Excrements of a robot dog, perhaps?

I couldn’t find anything about this particular piece, but Lynda Benglis is well-known for her strong, controversial and feminist art, so maybe this has something to do with feminism also. Women being degraded and treated like the were nothing more than feces? I really don’t know and “Modern Art Number 1” doesn’t exactly inspire me to find out. It is ugly, but not ugly enough for me to pay much attention to it. For me to be interested in an “ugly” art piece, the work should have a clear, strong message and it has to be bravely and shamelessly grotesque, kind of like the anti-war pieces by Salvador Dali.

"Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War" and "Visage of War" by Salvador Dali

What we are witnessing here is an untitled work of art by Robert Gober (born 1954). As one might imagine, this piece of artistic vision is a prime example of what is called “Modern Art”.

Whether it’s purpose is to make you wonder why somebody would do something like this or to arouse astonishment in you is unclear to me. The artist probably thought he was making the artwork of the century, but honestly, it looks more like badly photoshopped picture without any kind of real meaning behind it. As it was admitted to the Museum of Modern Arts, it is clear that the artist wasn’t the only one who thought it was good, and this is what puzzles me the most. Why would somebody pay to watch something like this? The money would be better spent in just about anything else.

Now, while I understand and can usually agree when people have different opinions about things, this is just too much over the top. This sculpture has nothing to redeem it. It has no artistic value, it awakes no feelings except anger and distrust towards anyone who would enjoy watching this or any other so-called works of art similar to this. It appears that nowadays I could take my dog for a walk, collect his feces in a bag and bring it into a museum, saying that it’s a masterpiece, and actually have it admitted.

Welcome to… The slum? Oh, sorry. My mistake. Welcome to Federal Square, Melbourne, Australia.

Federal Square, also known as Fed Square, it covers an area of 3.2 hectares. It’s really popular cultural precinct, Victoria’s (=Australia’s most populous state) second most popular tourist attraction.

Did they run out of money? I think they did. This building looks unfinished and cheap shanty made of cardboard box. These kinds of buildings can be seen in slums and in areas where homeless people live. Engineers say that there is some kind of geometrical designs. Triangles may be 1 by 2 by √5*, but why do you need to make it look so weird. In Helsinki Keskuskatu is covered with geometrical designs and I think that’s cool, but this… Not so much. They’ve used metallic screens and transparent glass and glass with green tinge. to create different colours. For me it looks like some of the cardboard boxes got wet and some if them are still dry. It would be more beautiful if they’d have covered it completely with screens. I hope that it’s prettier inside than outside. And if the building doesn’t have walls or a roof how do they manage to protect interior from the rain?

*√=square root

Image: http://photobucket.com/


“Federation Square”

Fed Square Pty Ltd 16 May 2011

<http://www.fedsquare.com/>

This horrible sculpture is a creation of  Lynda Benglis, an American sculptor. At first glance I really thought there is two piles of feces on the table; an ordinary brown one and then some weird silver robot-feces. Usually when you look a piece of art amazed a little longer you realize the hook or the story behind it. When I stared at this piece of blooper horrified a little longer I realized that there is no hook and there is no story behind it. It’s still just two piles of feces on the table!

This sculpture is named “Modern Art Number 1” but I don’t think it’s very modern to put poop on a table. It sounds more like dogs’ job if even that. Also the background is really depressing by the dirty-brown table and the light-gray wall. Brown and gray, would there just be even more boring colours? I understand that the most important point of modern art is to push the limits and have people confused but sculpture of two piles of poop isn’t confusing, it’s just sad. So Lynda, if you’re reading this I have an important message for you: Stop sculpting poopy art. There’s already enough it. Instead of that, try sculpting something beautiful. Human feces, silver robot feces or any kind of feces isn’t beautiful in any way, nor it doesn’t have anything to add to the world of arts. So clean up that mess and start over! Yours sincerely, Jami.

Source:

MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, The collection, Lynda Benglis, Modern Art Number 1, read on 17.5.2011, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3ADE%3AI%3A5|G%3AHI%3AE%3A1&page_number=316&template_id=1&sort_order=2

This “wonderful” piece of architecture stands in North Carolina (NC, USA), and it’s an ice-cream shop.

I find it particularly disgusting because of it’s ugly appearance and I don’t see the resemblance to a strawberry. The outside of the structure seems to be some kind of fabric or the building process has gone horribly wrong. The windows don’t fit the structure either and seem to be plunged into the wall. The roof seems to be made of a circle-like board that doesn’t fit the structure at all. To add more idiocy to the building there is a green pipe on the roof. Because the building is so small the insides must be very cramped.

It might appeal to children, because it looks like something that came out of their drawing booklets. I honestly don’t recommend this to any visitors, unless they want to laugh at it.

I think that they could have easily done a better job with this building. I’ll show you an example of a similar building in Tokyo, Japan.

Even though this isn’t the best example, because it looks a bit like a mushroom, it still looks much better than the other one. The windows are a nice detail and nicely resemble the seeds of a strawberry.

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