LOL! I don’t ;^)
LOL! I don’t ;^)
Oh, I’m definitely aware that you appreciate and understand the value of depictions of the nude, the sexual — after all, you follow my tumbleblogging of provocative imagery! I figured from the start that it was an intellectual exercise we were engaging in. And a fun one it was. It’s still good to play a little Devil’s Advocate and hash out the issues.
Thank you for the compliments! They are appreciated. I do try to make at least some sense when I write. ;^)
Art is, indeed, imbued with all manner of meaning and messages. In fact, it’s integral to the creation of the piece: the creator had to convey something to the viewer.
Were our favorite blonde bare, with a plain toy, the purpose and meaning of her nudity would probably change, but would be no less valid. That meaning could be manifold. For example, it could be that of capturing a moment of vulnerability. It could be conveying the appeal of the voyeurism that we all possess. Or it could be simply that nakedness (both physically and metaphorically) is our native state, nothing to be ashamed of, and something to be treasured. The purpose could simply be to titillate. Or it could be to celebrate the joy of sex. It could be to encourage the sexual liberation of women. It could be many, many things, again none any less valid than another.
The idea that there is no symbolism in the appearance of a naked, unadorned woman with a vibrator is a fallacy, and a pernicious one at that. Such a view assumes that there is no inherent beauty, no deeper meaning to the human form or condition, or portrayal of human behavior and emotion, other than that which comes in fully-clothed or ironic presentation.
The general public, again, would be applying a litmus test to the art, which shortchanges meaning outside of the obvious, or surface appearance.
Mr. Koons exhibit didn’t lack symbolism. It was simply lost on those who disapproved of the work. <shrug/> The art-or-porn question — to me — specifically and inherently posits that the the depiction of sexuality can only be taken at a very shallow face value.
There is ALWAYS more. The question is not whether the artist intended more, but whether the public at large can, or is willing to, see more.
Thank you for your comments! This is quite a touchy and interesting subject, with much nuance, to be sure. You raise interesting questions, so let’s go!
To your points: The material or subject matter is exactly what’s NOT at question. What is at question is the societal norms extant at the time the material or subject matter is viewed. And to which society does one hew, is the logical follow-on question. Is it the norms of the puritanical minority or is it those of the more numerous, yet much less vocal (perhaps hidden), “counter culture” group by which we judge the piece?
Remember, it was not long ago that showing a kiss between people of different races on screen was against the Motion Picture Code of Decency. Now, you can’t turn to a music video channel without some man of African or Latin descent tonguing down or nearly fucking Becky next door.
My (perhaps crassly made) point is that the criteria we use to judge is highly temporal in nature, and is so mutable as to nearly irrelevant.
The image of a well-oiled, buxom blonde reaching orgasm with her device might be seen as high-art, if that dildo is painted to resemble an American flag, and she has the words “THE WORLD” scrawled on her fetching midriff. It’s all in the context of the image, including the irony, the composition of, and the point behind, the piece. It’s just as sexual, just as overt, just as explicit, but now, somehow, it’s “different.”
What we really know when we see it, is that a work was produced. What we then apply as a litmus test, based in large part on a celebration of (the appearance of) virginity, chaste and celibacy (even if the reality were completely different) rooted in the western religious thought that sex was “the original sin,” because the dominant attitude of the western church from the Middle Ages to today (in some places) was that sexual love, and therefore the act itself, was evil and never ceased to be so.
The artist could have every reason to press his view that the work was not pornographic but against such a stacked deck he’d lose, even if his work were lit by six or more lights! ;^) J/K