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Nathalia Edenmont!
January 10, 2005 9:34 PM   Subscribe

At first glance it would seem to be something one would find in some photoshop gallery. But then one finds out that she has been forced to justify her work, for they are pictures of freshly killed animals. Much to the dislike of some craigslistians. With the growing uproar, there is even a petition going around (though petitions like that are hardly rare.) Is this a work of someone seeking attention through offending people? Or someone unable to use photoshop? Whatever the case, I’m sure PETA will join in. . . . Wait, it has.
posted by TwelveTwo (90 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Now a real crime is this junk.

And this is my first post.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:35 PM on January 10, 2005


She's not the first to use animals in her work this way. Adam Fuss has also produced some interesting work with rabbits - arranging their entrails on photographic paper. I saw an exhibition of his work in Boston a few years ago; it was strangely beautiful.

I'm not for the wanton mistreatment of animals, but so long as they're not being unduly tortured, I don't see what the big deal is. I had a chicken sandwich for dinner this evening, and will almost certainly have no difficulty getting to sleep tonight.
posted by aladfar at 9:47 PM on January 10, 2005


And not just animals, people as well, seeing the decapitated hand in this picture!!!!!111!1!

Artistically I find this picture very beautiful. Morally I don't think it is justifiable to kill animals to create it. I also wonder what the need is, with the digital image manipulation that is possible nowadays.

Also: are we going to allow meat-eaters/leather-wearers to take a "no killing for art" stance in this discussion?
posted by Berend at 9:53 PM on January 10, 2005


So is this for real, or a clever hoax? Aren't there ways that clever MeFites (which leaves me out) can tell if a picture has been photoshopped?
posted by LarryC at 9:55 PM on January 10, 2005


Or someone unable to use photoshop?

"Hey, I photoshopped some animal heads in vases and stuff!"

"Great, post if on fark."

vs.

"Hey, I kill animals, and stick em in vases and take pictures."

"Who do I write the check to?"

Regardless of whether the artist kills animals for art or not, she basically has to say she does or there will be very little interest in it (from people with sizable amounts of money).
posted by 23skidoo at 10:06 PM on January 10, 2005


As a (near) omnivore, this bothers me, and while I don't really see an inconsistency, vegetarians will likely point out that I'm rationalizing my hypocrisy. But let me try to do it anyway.
The question I'm struggling with is whether it's necessary to kill the animals to achieve the artistic result. If the killing is part of the artistic expression itself, it leads to the question as to whether a photograph of a live event is more or less artistic than a photograph of a mockup of the live event, where the two photographs can be made similar enough so that no difference is evident. Why waste a life when the facsimile is just as good? (When tofu can taste just like steak, I'll switch.)

Now, if the animals were eaten afterwards, I'd probably feel differently.
posted by aberrant at 10:09 PM on January 10, 2005


My first question is do people pay money to own this art, or just to see it? Do people keep this stuff in their homes?

23skidoo makes a good point, at least a good observation to one side of this quadruple teterahedron. If she never said it was real, then it wouldn't be a problem. She is trying to show the duality of beauty in our culture by making it all that more obvious. The spot of blood on the wing. The way the cats mouth is ever so slightly distorted. Would it be the same if she had killed cockroaches or leeches for that matter?
posted by Dean Keaton at 10:14 PM on January 10, 2005


Some day this disturbed artist will be decapitated by an equally disturbed artist, and her head will be placed upon a platter in a gallery, possibly with an elaborate garnish, and the circle of life will be complete.
posted by cmonkey at 10:20 PM on January 10, 2005


She is the animal kingdom's very own Joel Peter Witkin (NSFW)
posted by mannythedog at 10:21 PM on January 10, 2005


As near as I can tell, this is old news -- the exhibition appears to have happened over a year ago. This raises a couple of questions:

(1) Was there any outcome to the case? The artist was apparently brought up on some kind of minor charge involving the euthanasia.

(2) How funny is it that people who just found out about this are furiously scribbling their names in that petition against an exhibition that was taken down almost a year ago?

In any case, I hadn't seen it before, so thanks for posting it. It is certainly -- provocative. Get a load of this quote from the PETA page:

PETA have written to the gallery’s owner, expressing concern about the effect that killing and dismembering innocent animals will have on Edenmont’s mental well-being.

I'm sure that the PETA folks are deeply, profoundly concerned with this artist's well-being. Umm, yeah right.
posted by casu marzu at 10:25 PM on January 10, 2005


What a conundrum! I eat meat, but my first reaction in comparing eating meat to killing an animal for art is to think/say "Well, at least the meat that I ate was used for something and had utility", but then the artist in me screams "What is there that is greater than true art?"

That makes this good art. True conflict conveyed to the viewer to wrestle with for themselves. There is shock there, but it doesn't really come off as extremist in presentation and shock for the sake of it. The aesthetics and presentation in the photos is highly refined and quite beautiful.

I'm pretty sure that the animals were more beautiful - and less disturbing - when alive, though. The mouse fingerpuppet one is seriously freaking me out. Poor cute dead mousies.

On preview: cmonkey wins.
posted by loquacious at 10:25 PM on January 10, 2005


Reminds me of the artist (in Vancouver, BC?) that was going to splatter a rat on a canvas by dropping a cement block on it from a few stories up.

The media attention generated by the very threat of that stunt made him famous beyond all reason.

The art was in the performance.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 PM on January 10, 2005


There was also the guy who put goldfish in blenders, and gave the option of pressing the button to the viewer.

As one would expect, someone did press the button.
posted by O9scar at 10:34 PM on January 10, 2005


Right now I'll bet a hundred financially struggling taxadermists are kicking themselves for not thinking of this before.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:11 PM on January 10, 2005


I think much of the shock value of these pieces comes from the fact that many of the animals killed are not animals which most omnivores, myself included, would eat under normal circumstances (chicken and rabbit excluded, but even so, the domestic bunnies in the photos are not your typical bistro fare). There is a substantial psychological wall dividing companionship animals and livestock in many people's minds. I know I felt ill when I saw the cat photos; as I type, I have a black cat curled up next to me in bed. The chicken photos did not affect me nearly as much. If these photos showed cows, or pigs, I imagine -- callous and illogical as this may be -- I would be even less affected. I'm still a little unsettled by the whole thing, but I think the opportunity to evaluate my response was worthwhile. Thanks.

On a different note, I'm surprised nobody's yet commented on the photograph of the egg yolk on the daisy. Quite incongruous with respect to the rest of the collection, although there is an obvious connection; I wonder if the artist intends a metaphor for "fetal rights", since this is what I instantly thought of when I saw this photo in context with the others. Yolk rights? Leave no yolk behind?
posted by alsorises at 11:25 PM on January 10, 2005


I don't know what you guys are talking about, but the mouse-gloves one is my new desktop background.
posted by odinsdream at 11:35 PM on January 10, 2005


fff - the artist in question is Rick Gibson, the performance was about Sniffy The Rat. If you do a Google search on Rick, you will find accounts of this 1990 scandal. He's still creating - less controversial - art, and had an exposition in Vancouver last July.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:47 PM on January 10, 2005


Just disgusting. Quite apart from moral outrage, this is just awfully bad art. Here is no triumph over anything, no transcendence, no crystalization of insight, no acuity of perception or intution, no pith: this woman has let loose cruelty under the auspice of conceptual accomplishment. Brings to mind the experiments of Josef Mengele and von Verschuer in Auschwitz under the guise of science. No grandiloquent manifesto will vindicate this woman's quiet, persistent killing of living creatures. Artists do not wreak death.
posted by ori at 12:20 AM on January 11, 2005


Hey ori, I saw an X-File episode about this kind of stuff not too long ago. It was about zoo animals being taken and their babies harvested by aliens -where was your outrage then?
posted by gsb at 12:31 AM on January 11, 2005


fff it was sniffy the rat. I was there for it, the crowd was acting like a blood thirsty mob that day. Interesting how it played out and yeah I agree the art was in the performance at the library.

I can't justify what the 'artist' is doing (a violation of the sanctity of life for ones artistic pleasure perhaps?) and think there might be something psychologically wrong with them You know what a psychiatrist would say about people who kill animals for thrills ...
posted by squeak at 12:55 AM on January 11, 2005


I don't follow, gsb. Are you suggesting there is no way to morally and aesthetically differentiate between actual and fictional slaughter?

Her actions do not surprise me. Cruelty is magnetic, hypnotizing: who, as a kid, has not felt some thrill or pang of elation from stepping on an ant-hill or vivisecting insects. Many will, as we grow as human beings, learn to divert their behavior away from the occasional temptation to be cruel. Some inevitably won't. What I find revolting is the sudden cultural legitimacy that the auspice of art lends this project; that an art gallery should attach its name it; that this women be paid and recognized for gross sadism.
posted by ori at 1:05 AM on January 11, 2005


For once I agree with PETA (and I hate PETA). Sure people eat animals, but that is food for our survival. But someone who kills animals and sees an "art form" in playing with their dead bodies is one sick mother, with deeper issues than a lack of talent or inspiration. Further, I think anyone else who sees beauty in crap like that or is willing to pay for it has similar problems. None of this belongs on public display.
posted by tomorama at 1:15 AM on January 11, 2005


Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I rather like her art.

So she killed mice. Hundreds of thousands (?millions?) of mice die every year because we don't want them in our homes or eating from our bird seed sacks. Do you pull their corpses out of the traps and eat them? I doubt the killing of some lab mice (and rats) is putting a huge dent in the population.

And how many cat and dogs are euthanized every day because no one can find a home for them? So she kills a dozen or so and uses them in her photographs. My uncle has drowned more cats than that just because they wander into his backyard.

Perhaps you see these deaths are frivolous. I, on the other hand, try to think about all the unmentioned animal deaths that occurr every day, and find myself unable to get worked up over these few. And at least the death of her animals gave them a purpose.
posted by sbutler at 1:33 AM on January 11, 2005


Brings to mind the experiments of Josef Mengele and von Verschuer in Auschwitz under the guise of science.

The purpose of art is to make you think, Ori. It worked, no?
posted by Pinback at 1:38 AM on January 11, 2005


What's the quotation? "Animals' lives are as important to them as your life is to you."

Not only is she wasting lives, she's doing it intentionally and apparently profiting from it, successfully demonstrating that good or bad, art can be immoral. A badly cooked steak is a waste, but at least it isn't intentional. And yes, we euthanize unwanted animals, but some of you are making an unwarranted leap of logic if you're claiming that's just fine too.

I've noticed that people who grew up without (some adult guidance on how to properly treat) pets (or siblings) tend to later be less empathetic towards both animals and other people. I agree, ori, it was mesmerizing when I set ants on fire with a magnifying glass, but I'm grateful that my parents helped me outgrow that kind of behavior before I was 10. (At which point my friends and I started blowing up inanimate stuff reel gud.)

Besides merely "making you think" or provoking controversy, another more important quality of good art is that its beauty evokes joy, reverence, or wonder in the mind of the beholder. If you dislike bad art because it evokes revulsion, good for you.
posted by surlycat at 1:52 AM on January 11, 2005


tomorama, your opinion is a purely moral judgement and makes little rational sense. (The idea that we need to eat animals for our "survival" is particularly laughable. I'm don't know how you can say that with a straight face.) It's best to reign in your morality when viewing such "controversial" art otherwise you end up leaping to wild conclusions and condemning wide swaths of humanity as inferior, degenerate creatures.

To me this art is incredibly beautiful. I've been gawking for a while and I've alotted time to come back and gawk later. What's so striking to me is not the basic shock value of seeing "cute" animals killed (this quickly wears off) it's the implications of some of these photos. For me, these works raise big questions this about other art. Except for the most abstract works, it seems like all other art is now tainted by whatever it is that's laid so bare in these photos.

When I saw this my first thought was of the Mona Lisa.

Great post TwelveTwo.
posted by nixerman at 2:00 AM on January 11, 2005


another 'artist' walking the thin line is Gunter Von Hagen
He had plans on doing a live-autopsy.. Something which used to happen in the Theatrum Anatomicum around 1690, now back on special request?
posted by borq at 2:36 AM on January 11, 2005


I rather enjoy some of these pictures. Not because I know they were real animals killed or whatnot, I'd actually enjoy them just as much (possibly without getting a case of the jeeblies) if it had been done with photoshop.

I, personally, don't have a problem with this artist's methods. Why? I suppose I'm not entirely certain. *I* certainly would not do it, nor would I be congratulating such an artist on their vision if I met them in person. For me it just seems to fall into the realm of "crazy shit OTHER people may feel like doing but that doesn't particularly affect much else".

If they were pictures of animals partially dissected and still alive, or any other sort of abuse of a still living animal, then I would have a serious problem. As it stands there isn't much going on. I do understand many other people DO have a problem with it, though, and they are fully entitled to.

I think that a lot of things happen that people would be less upset over quite a few years back (and by that I mean a hundred or two). Living in cities and being distanced from the natural chain of life and death necessary for survival causes a disconnection that ends up with people being far more squeamish and outraged by things that otherwise would just seem eccentric and useless.

Before anyone jumps on me for any of that, let me say that I fall into that "disconnected" category myself, mostly. Can hardly stand the sight of blood. Dating a vegetarian. All that. Like I said, I just don't overly have a problem with this. It'd be a different story if it was some sort of live presentation piece. I think I might get a tad outraged (read: fainted) myself then.
posted by Stunt at 2:45 AM on January 11, 2005


Gunther von Hagens. (with an 'h' and an 's' and a lowercase 'v')
He's not an artist, nor an “artist” and has never claimed to be. His “plastination” and Body Worlds display is science, education and it's entertainment.
He carried out a live autopsy, shown on Channel 4 (UK) to some discontent in London 2002.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:54 AM on January 11, 2005


Why should something else need to die in order for an artist to make their point? How was this more effective than using the bodies of those already dead? As sbutler rightly points out, thousands of these animals had already died on the day that she constructed these pieces - a lack of material cannot have been the reason for her choice.

If it was a statement about people's paradoxical disregard for the life of other animals, having your own allows much more poignant protest than joining the club.


On a related note, can anyone point me in the direction of some information about the "Rat King" sculpture owned by Charles Saatchi?
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:06 AM on January 11, 2005


NP: details, smetails. he creates stuff and exposes it to the public ;)
posted by borq at 3:13 AM on January 11, 2005


the decapitated hand in this picture

Er, Berend - decapitation is traditionally applied to heads only. Try 'severed' for hands. or even 'disembodied'.

I am curious about vegetarians being lumped into a category of people who mightn't like this art. People choose not to eat animals for all sorts of reasons. Assuming that they do so out of a moral objection to their deaths is a little naive.

The fact that most of the critters she has adapted are pest species to some degree militates against some of the objections, I would have thought.

Mind you, my perspective is a little unusual here: I have been a vegetarian for 15 years, but also enjoy hunting feral animals. And I'm married to a vegetarian who, inter alia, sells taxidermy...
posted by tim_in_oz at 3:17 AM on January 11, 2005


ori, I'm suggesting the "artist" created a narrative and that your reaction to the story is, possibly, a product of the sadism you abhor.
posted by gsb at 3:32 AM on January 11, 2005


nixerman: At least someone liked it. sobs
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:22 AM on January 11, 2005


I got into a flaming match with another blogger about this woman a few months ago. I put her morally on par with a guy who wears a leather jacket - untroubling for an omnivore.

For those of you who think she should have used already dead animals: isn't this more honest? Going to the animal shelter after they've gassed the cats and picking out the ones you need and killing the some homeless cats yourself end up with the same number of dead cats. At least doing it yourself forces you to acknowledge your debt to the animals. It's already far too easy for most people to deny how many animals die so they can be comfortable (sbutler's mice, etc.).
posted by amber_dale at 5:40 AM on January 11, 2005


Poor critters. Don't we have medicines for "artists" like this?

and what 23skiddoo said.
posted by effwerd at 5:45 AM on January 11, 2005


When you create a piece of art with a meaning or a message of some kind, you (generally) start with the meaning, and then figure out how to best communicate this, choosing the medium, style, etc. Most artistic ideas don't come as a fully realised, burning vision in the brain. Artists make a hundred little choices for each piece they make before and during creation.

What disturbs me about this woman's work is the calculation behind it. Her muse didn't brandish a crowbar over her and demand she cut the heads off of cats and stick them on vases. She could've gotten her message across in any number of ways. She decided that killing animals was the way to do it and I have to wonder why.

The only conclusion I've come to is that she did it for the shock and the publicity. At the very least she could've gotten some roadkill, but no, it's made clear that she's done the killing herself. These were sacrifices in the name of ego, which is why this is distasteful. Shock does not make for good art. It's like painting a picture and then framing it with giant, blinking lights. Sure, people notice the frame, but will more often than not ignore the picture, which is what mattered in the first place.
posted by picea at 5:45 AM on January 11, 2005


Admittedly, it's hard to justify killing healthy animals when so many die naturally each day, but... These aren't meaningless deaths. The deaths of these animals allowed for the creation of some absolutely stunning art. (Whether you like the subject or not, it would be hard to deny her talent with a camera.)

Does art not fill you up?

What is the difference, really, between killing an animal to feed your soul, and killing an animal to feed your body? The animal is being "consumed" either way.
posted by digifox at 5:52 AM on January 11, 2005


Animals don't give a flying fuck why you killed them. The chicken killed for food is just as dead as the one killed to be photographed. Making a stink about the "reason" you killed them is just sheer egocentrism.
Do you eat dead animals? Then there is absolutely no moral distance between yourself and the artist. There is perceptual distance, as you probably don't kill them yourself, and she does.
Me, I don't like the pictures, but I don't see any moral issues at stake.
posted by signal at 6:13 AM on January 11, 2005


My first reactions to viewing these photos were shock, followed by sympathy for the animals, followed by anger at the artist. I then read all of the completely rational and logical arguments presented here concerning the purpose of art and the treatment of animals in our society. I then reviewed the images and felt exactly the same way I did before. I don't like feeling that way, and I don't want to look at these pictures or any similar pictures again. Excuse me for not being "enlightened", but when it comes to art, my first reaction is usually right.
posted by boymilo at 6:17 AM on January 11, 2005


surlycat:
"Animals' lives are as important to them as your life is to you."

On a basic level, I'll agree with you. In the end though, I think my life is more important to me than the life of my 6 cats. Our species spent a few million years working its way up the food chain, and in the evolutionary sense, might makes right. If evolution doesn't suit you, then God gave us dominion over the animals. Either way, I see it as such that we're on a level above the beasties.

Now having said that, I'll admit that the art I saw initially shocked me, but didn't immediately draw a condemnation from me. I only saw 3 of the images, and two of them didn't really catch my aesthetic sense, but the mouse heads on the fingers actually drew a sense of wonder from me. There was a small frisson of surprise and shock initially, with my mind's tactile memory recalling a mouse scampering up my arm and expanding it to five mice all running over my hand. Another part of my mind thought, "Oh, the poor little mousies!" But then I perceived the almost fractal like aspect of the image, and I wandered down the concept of each of the mouse fingers having little humans over them, and so forth and so on. Add to that the fragile nature of the little mice, and in the end, I, at least, found beauty and wonder.

Quote:
"... another more important quality of good art is that its beauty ..."

Who defines what is good art, and who defines beauty?

I wouldn't classify the right wing of Hieronymus Bosch's triptych The Garden of Earthly Delight as beautiful, but I'd definitely say it's good art and eerily fascinating. I find the left wing to be utterly boring, and the center panel to be busy and tedious. You may have a different perspective than I do, and that's the joy of art. Each piece speaks in a different voice to each viewer.

Quote:
"... evokes joy, reverence, or wonder in the mind of the beholder."

As I mentioned, I found beauty in the mouse image. There were some negative emotions as well, but I took something good from the image, so does that make it good art or bad? You didn't give the option of being revolted by good art.
posted by jakestone at 6:22 AM on January 11, 2005


I am obviously a "natural" vegetarian and not merely one out of rational decision... those pictures literally make me feel ill. I wish I had something more interesting to say. I like darkness and conflict in art (I like Schiele, or Houellebecq, eg) but this is not saying anything to me. It's like, Jeffrey Dahmer, performance artist... This is no more like art than tubgirl, in my opinion.
posted by mdn at 6:27 AM on January 11, 2005


all of this can be summed up as : opinion and reaction.

I personally found them unsettling, but not morally reprehensible. I think the mouse/stray cat example above to be the best.

I am reminded of a friend of my wife's who once told us a story, in absolute horror and shock, of her time in the peace corps in Africa. Some poor, hungry villagers ate her pet cat. She was complaining about this, while she ate a ham sandwich. I kid you not. I tried to explain to her, the concept of her neighbors keeping a pet pig while she and her kids were hungry, and if she couldn't understand. "no, it is just wrong to kill and eat a cat"

emotional response and rational thought rarely coincide. This 'art' is a success, in that it drew attention to that. I don't like it, (aesthetically), but I applaud the work.
posted by das_2099 at 6:39 AM on January 11, 2005


I'd feel the same if she'd done this to a slug. She's used the deliberate killing of an animal as the sole basis of merit for her rather childish sculpture.
The act was not worth the cost.

"Nathalia grew up in the former Soviet Union, and she has a razor sharp eye for paradoxes and gaps in our western morals."
Those Westeners with more Eastern morals are, unfortunately, uncatered for.
posted by NinjaPirate at 6:58 AM on January 11, 2005


She's not the first to use animals in her work this way.

Everything Audobon painted was dead, killed by him, and sometimes wired into position to keep it posed, like fruit in a fruitbowl.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:26 AM on January 11, 2005


Audubon.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:27 AM on January 11, 2005


I swear, these days you can eat flowers then shit on a cinder block, call it art and some idiot would defend it while another idiot buys it. Art is what an artist does, after all.
posted by effwerd at 7:33 AM on January 11, 2005


Nathalia Edenmont's mouse finger puppets. My daughter's mouse finger puppets. Too close to home.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:35 AM on January 11, 2005


People are animals, too. I think it's funny--the way humans think of themselves as something else. I'm a vegetarian because I don't have to eat meat or kill to survive. I prefer to limit the amount of suffering and death I cause. I understand that others feel differently. I would be much less bothered by this woman's art if the animals she used were found. I happen to like bones, feathers, shells and the like. One of my most prized possessions is a bat skeleton I found while gardening a few years ago. It's beautiful and delicate, but I would find it much harder to love and admire it if I had destroyed the bat in order to enjoy it. It seems to me that killing for "art" is wasteful and stupid. My grandfather is a life-long hunter, but he would never kill anything for sport or pleasure. I know it makes no difference to the animal why it's killed, but it makes a difference to me. When my grandfather kills a deer, the animal's life ends, but it leads to life for another animal (my grandfather). This woman's art is just death.
posted by apis mellifera at 7:43 AM on January 11, 2005


The purpose of art is to make you think, Ori.

Isn't this kind of a useless statement? The purpose of music is to make you think. The purpose of books is to make you think. The purpose of drinking a cup of coffee is to make you think. The purpose of life is to make you think.

The purpose of art can't be solely to make you think, otherwise just about everything you do is art (cue asshat: "Precisely!"). In which case, why bother going through the effort of killing an animal and putting it in a KrAzY situation? Why not just take a picture of yourself and put it on the internet? Why not just put a blank page up?

"Well, I made you think, didn't I?" Yeah, you made me think you're an attention whore out of ideas, trying to make yourself stand out in a vast ocean of other similarly ca-raaaa-zy ideas. Congratulations.

Basically, modern art (or post-modern, or post-pre-modern) seems to be reduced to a silly game of one-upmanship. If you're the first kid on the block to do something--anything--you can gain some notoriety, which equals fame, which equals success. You then later define it using some made-up half-believable construct. Has anyone poured a kettle of scalding hot tea on themselves yet? "Well, the hot tea represents the collapse of the British Empire, and pouring it on myself shows the ruinous nature of colonialism."

Fucking duh.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:44 AM on January 11, 2005


Sbutler...your uncle drowns cats for coming in his backyard?!?! What the FUCK is wrong with him? And with you, for not reporting his monstrous behavior?
posted by Sharktattoo at 7:57 AM on January 11, 2005


Well, I wish I'd said it like that.
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:07 AM on January 11, 2005


There was also the guy who put goldfish in blenders, and gave the option of pressing the button to the viewer.

As one would expect, someone did press the button.


If it were really art, the button would not have been hooked up to the blender: it'd have been hooked up to a tesla coil.

The art,t hen, would have been in the surprising lesson learned by the fellow who pushes the button. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 8:41 AM on January 11, 2005


The only conclusion I've come to is that she did it for the shock and the publicity.

Well she certainly achieved that here.

I am bemused at how the Moral Outrage card still continues to trump the Art-makes-you-think card even among such a jaded crowd.

Everything Audobon painted was dead, killed by him, and sometimes wired into position to keep it posed, like fruit in a fruitbowl.

PinkStainlessTail, I was thinking of a large still life (sorry don't know the title) that hangs in the Raleigh Museum of Art which portrays the food being prepared for a feast, including a decapitated pheasant with the blood dripping from its neck.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:55 AM on January 11, 2005


Sbutler...your uncle drowns cats for coming in his backyard?!?! What the FUCK is wrong with him? And with you, for not reporting his monstrous behavior?

Umm... because they are pests? Just because you love your cat doesn't mean that suddenly all cats have achieved some sort of sacred status. My uncle kills feral cats[*] because they kill the birds eating at his feeder, they kill the goldfish in his pond, they shit in his flower beds, and because someone has to kill them.

If you live in an apartment in a city, or some house in a suburb, I'm willing to bet you fail to realize the number of wildly cats present in any area. Humans have provided them with shelter and food (in the form of garbage and those animals that feed from it) and the population grows unchecked. You can't adopt a feral cat and domesticate it, and even if you could there aren't nearly enough people to do so.

Thus, we kill them to keep the population in check. Growing up we had a lot of pets: 5 cats, 2 dogs, 2 hamsters, 2 guinea pigs, and untold number of fish, a mouse (yes, a mouse), 2 cockatiels, 2 parakeets, 2 rabbits, and probably close to 40 pigeons. We have a huge pet cemetery in our backyard, and strangely enough the pet I cried the most over was that damned mouse. However, I don't fail to realize that in many situations the animals I have loved are considered pests, or food, and are treated as such. That's the way life works.

[*] I failed to mention this previously. He doesn't kill cats he thinks are people's pets, only the wild ones.
posted by sbutler at 8:59 AM on January 11, 2005


Going all the way down the slippery slope, what kinds of behaviours/situations CANNOT be justifiably included into an artistic work?

This reminds me of the fact that dancing is not constitutionally protected by the first amendment, because some undesirable behaviors can also be classified as "dancing" (ie fighting).
posted by sandking at 9:04 AM on January 11, 2005


Is art all relative?

Buchenwald human skin objet d'arts. Godwin's Law be damned!
posted by meehawl at 9:20 AM on January 11, 2005


One of the reasons I don't eat meat is because I am uncomfortable supporting a system that is unnecessarily cruel; I try to avoid leather products as well. I'm not perfect. Most of my shoes are leather. Why? Convenience and vanity. Like I said, not perfect.
Playing Devils' Advocate for a moment: If it is acceptable to deliberately kill animals for vanity and convenience, so it is with art. This particular exhibit makes me a little uncomfortable, but I sense that that's what the artist is going for; I'd really have to see it "live" if you'll pardon the pun. From what I can see, it's beautiful and disturbing.
It's oversimplifying to say that "Art makes you think." of course it does. The point is what thoughts and emotions is the artist trying to evoke? I have a pretty good idea from the interview, but as to whether that must entail the intentional deaths of the animals purely for the art- well, it's all relative, isn't it? Would it have the same impact if the animals were artificial models?
posted by exlotuseater at 9:21 AM on January 11, 2005


Artists can "justify" putting anything they want in their work.

Artists can also be rank rationalizers; they can leap at the chance to scream "Hypocrisy!" in order to capitalize the sadistic urges lurking in their audience.

As for my own opinion of the work: If it walks like sadism and quacks like sadism.... And I don't valorize sadists.

And I don't find sophomoric appeals to the Eeeeeevvvvvviiiiiiilllll of hypocirsy to be either profound or amusing. The only thing profound in this is the insight it offers to the revenue potential of sadism. And as someone who happened to catch an episode of "2.5 Men" on TV last night, it doesn't seem to be a very profound insight to me.
posted by lodurr at 9:32 AM on January 11, 2005


"Nathalia grew up in the former Soviet Union, and she has a razor sharp eye for paradoxes and gaps in our western morals."

what moral gap? That we don't generally condone deliberately killing animals for aesthetic excitement? Seriously, I don't see how this is art. Do you perceive a difference between serial killers and crimes of passion? There is a difference between choosing to destroy life for the sake of a sadistic pleasure, and killing out of need, hunger, or anger.

As for "it makes you think", I don't even know what you mean. Adolph Eichmann makes you think, too. Anything can make you think. This doesn't 'make me think' anything in particular beyond, this woman is damaged.

And for the record, I am solidly a pro-choice (ie, non-militant) vegetarian, understand that some people need meat, and draw no lines between different species based on the cuteness factor (eating a cat or a dog or a horse is the same to me as a pig or a cow), though I will allow some lines for brain development etc (killing dolphins and chimps seems worse; fish & insects, not as bad).
posted by mdn at 9:45 AM on January 11, 2005


The moral outrage here is somehow comforting. What's best are the people like lodurr who insist the art has no aesthetic value whatsoever and is just "sadism." I often wonder how such statements these come about but now, perhaps, not so much...

What's a bit more interesting is the strictly utilitarian view of art that seems so popular. On the one hand, comments like apis mellifera's don't make sense. Somehow providing your grandfather a single meal is perceived to be more noble and less "wasteful" than constructing art that inspires or challenges those around you. After thinking about it, I guess such a statement must arise out of some sense that art is a luxury, that it belongs to the realm of "sport and pleasure," and it's not a cold hard necessity like food. (Though, of course, there are only very few people who "need" to eat meat.) This seems pretty misguided to me but I suppose I could forgive one in this case.

Would it have the same impact if the animals were artificial models?

Probably not. But it's quite a leap to insist that this shows that the artist is just trying to shock people and evoke emotions. This is, as mentioned above, just opinion and reaction.
posted by nixerman at 9:54 AM on January 11, 2005


I know it makes no difference to the animal why it's killed, but it makes a difference to me. When my grandfather kills a deer, the animal's life ends, but it leads to life for another animal (my grandfather). This woman's art is just death.

I think that's my problem with this as well. Killing for food sets certain limits on death; killing for pleasure (or sport, or art, or politics, or whatever) could, potentially, lead to simple slaughter. "I call my latest piece, 'Death of a Thousand Cats.' It is beautiful, no?" Basically, if you kill something for food, you won't go kill another one until you're hungry again. If you kill something for fun, you won't kill another one until you're bored again.

And as far as the "made you think" justification for art, that's just plain retarded. Getting mugged makes you think watching someone get hit by a bus makes you think. None of these are art. Or, if they are, I need to get a performance art gig. "I call it 'Hit You In The Face With A Pipe And Take Your iPod And Wallet And Shoes.' It is beautiful, no? Out of curiosity, you're a what, 34 long?" *whack*

Aesthetically, her pictures are beautiful in the way that all images of death are beautiful. But she could make the same images without the actual death, which means her work is conceptual. And conceptually, it's crap. Killing to show that we kill. Now where have I heard that before?

(on preview) Nixerman:
You don't need art (in the sense of things made by professionals and displayed in galleries) any more than you need that goddanm iPod. It makes your life better, sure, much in the same way that all products fill a real, if artificial, need of yours. But providing someone with a single meal is more noble than making a for-consumption piece of "art" because, after all, someone who hasn't eaten in 24 hours is not going to be fucking interested in which of their cultural assumptions your art challenges, or how it inspires them. People need food to survive (and just about every single non-industrial society eats meat); art-as-product is an invention of the past two or three thousand years.

I know that, second of course to not dying at all, I'd rather have my body feed something else than be paraded around in some kind of macabre, sterile spectacle. I try to extend that courtesy to others.
posted by Coda at 10:03 AM on January 11, 2005


What's best are the people like lodurr who insist the art has no aesthetic value whatsoever and is just "sadism."

... And I suppose you'd be prepared to explain where and when I said that?
posted by lodurr at 10:04 AM on January 11, 2005


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Marquis de Sade was an onanist, nothing more, nothing less. He offers no profound moral insight on anything that we couldn't as easily and more accurately understand by watching children on a playground.

This work is pure, pathetic public onanism: "Look at me! I'm smart! I see the moral gaps in your effete, corrupt western society! I am profound!" It's a con-job -- maybe (I'd say, probably) not primarily to make money (though as pointed out above, "real = dollars" when it comes to the visual expression of sadism), but definitely to win the artist the currency of fame and credibility. She's functioning in a marketplace that modern capitalism leaves us more and more ill-equipped to deal with and understand, every day, because it doesn't involve the exchange of currency.

Yes, that's just an opinion. So what? My opinion is that I am not impressed; my further opinion is that I am not impressed by apologists for the "art" of outrage. Instead of being logically consistent aesthetic/moral robots, why don't you try being human beings for a change?
posted by lodurr at 10:14 AM on January 11, 2005


Sbutler, please hold the condescension. I'm not some knee-jerk bleeding heart neophyte who just wandered in from a rose-colored world, and I'll bet you in my 36 years I've had a hell of a lot more pets than you have. I DO realize just how many feral cats there are. I grew up in the country and had to deal with abandoned animals. I saw first hand the horrid life outside cats have. My objection is to drowning them. What the hell-is there no animal shelter? Does he take some kind of vicarious pleasure from submerging a living, struggling animal and watching it die? Someone has to kill them? So, who exactly appointed him to that job? I'm sorry, that's just wrong. And sick.
posted by Sharktattoo at 10:44 AM on January 11, 2005


Leather. To everyone who is outraged that she would kill animals for art, I say to you again: Leather. It's not providing sustanance, and it's not the only material that can protect us from the elements.

We kill the animals, skin them, and wear their skin as clothing and use it in decorative objects.

I still have a fur wrap complete with animal heads that belonged to my great-aunt. How is this any different? (Other than the fact that it's ugly as hell.) You can morally object to fur and leather, but do you get ill every day when facted with animals killed for decoration in the form of chairs and shoes and coats and tight-fitting pants?

For the record, I think that the outrage would only be slightly lessened if they were models. She'd be charged with inciting violence to animals in the name of art instead of participating in violence to animals in the name of art.
(PETA famously suggested changing the name of the Fishkill, NY, remember? Despite the fact that "kill" means river in Dutch, they thought that the name Fishkill promoted violent imagery.)
posted by desuetude at 10:55 AM on January 11, 2005


and what lodurr said, emphatically.
posted by effwerd at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2005


Well, it would be better for the grandfather in question to get a .22 pistol and shoot them in the head, since drowning is in fact a pretty crappy way to die.

But it's not "sick". Killing for the pleasure of killing is sick. Killing to keep the animals in question from wrecking your garden is not. Maybe you think it's not cool, ok, fine. It's not sick. You are not omniscient, you do not have a handle on the absolute truth of morality, and you do not get to declare that people behaving the same way people have behaved for hundreds of thousands of years is "sick".

p.s.: sharkattack, it's rich (rich) that you're accusing others of condescension.

For the exhibit - it strikes me as sophomoric. But, again, the killing in and of itself was not the end towards which the artist aimed. While I'm not impressed by it, I'm not really offended either.
posted by kavasa at 10:59 AM on January 11, 2005


How is this any different?

Moral reductionism like this puzzles me. It's as though we'd suddenly shed hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary and cultural heritage and suddenly become purely logical beings -- the aesthetic robots of my previous post.
posted by lodurr at 11:01 AM on January 11, 2005


lodurr, there's nothing outrageous about this art. On the whole, this art is extremely tame. She killed these animals yes--but she did it in as humane a way as possible and she is in no way glorifying their deaths. I can think of a dozen ways these photographs could be made a thousand times more "outrageous."

I personally don't buy the gallery blurb; I'd like to hear it from the artist herself that the express intent was to uncover "moral gaps" or such nonsense. Personally, the value I see in these works is completely removed from their shocking aspect. I can see why people would be upset by this art but your attempt to completely reduce the art and the artist to a basic troll doesn't make any sense. If you insist that this art has no aesthetic value whatsoever--fine, I can accept poor taste. But to insist that it's not art at all and just an elaborate ploy to make you feel guilty/angry/righteous is quite a nonsensical (and convenient) leap.

Instead of being logically consistent aesthetic/moral robots, why don't you try being human beings like me for a change?

I think I'm a great human being, thanks.

I don't buy that slaughtering chickens and cats by the thousands is fine as long as its "necessary." The whole notion positively reeks of lame moral rationalization to me--still, I can understand where it comes from. I suppose, at best, we can engage in a kind cost-benefits analysis and question whether the art is worth the lives of its victims--but to dismiss it out of hand is just wrong. (In this case, though, I'd still say yes. The only reason some of these "work" is the underlying knowledge that it was a living thing that's been so thoroughly objectified).
posted by nixerman at 11:02 AM on January 11, 2005


It's a con-job

It's also prettier than a lot of modern taxidermy. Count me in with the other vegetarians in favor of the death art. I don't want to look at it anymore, but I think I like it. If she's killing these animals more humanely than KFC, I don't have a problem. If society deems that animals such as the ones she uses shouldn't be killed by humans, even humanely, then corral that outrage and pass a law, fascists.

The fact that her "message" (if any) is difficult to discern enhances the works.

Instead of being logically consistent aesthetic/moral robots, why don't you try being human beings for a change?

What's the human response? Burn her as a witch! I'll take the aesthetic/moral/thoughtful approach, thanks.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:03 AM on January 11, 2005


Nixerman, I do think that art is necessary. It's a hugely important part of human experience. I am disheartened by the notion that art can only be made by professionals--to me it is much too important for that. I hate that art is so undervalued, that it is considered frivolous and unimportant. It is, in many ways, essential to high quality of life. But important enough to kill for? No.
Generally speaking, I am am completely unconcerned about how artists make their art. Piss Christ? Great. The Virgin Mary made out of elephant dung? Fine. You want to kill my cat (or me, for that matter) to make your statement--uh, no.
posted by apis mellifera at 11:03 AM on January 11, 2005


I personally don't buy the gallery blurb; I'd like to hear it from the artist herself that the express intent was to uncover "moral gaps" or such nonsense.

Then it seems to me that your alternative is to regard her as a potentially very dangerous person -- a potential serial killer, someone who might dismember neighborhood children and pose their limbs in interesting patterns....

I say again: The art of outrage does not impress me. Outraging people is easy; you just seem to have become too jaded for it to take effect -- one of the unfortunate side-effects of the art of outrage, as it happens. Unfortunate, because it makes your last act that much harder to top...

And I say again: Moral reductivism doesn't impress me either. In the guise of an "aesthetic/moral/thoughtful" approach, it throws out an orphanage full of cultural, moral, aesthetic and ethical babies with the intellectual bathwater.
posted by lodurr at 11:16 AM on January 11, 2005


Did anyone here even study art or do anything more than approach it from a "I just know what I like when I see it" POV? Artists jobs are not to "play by the rules" or "be nice" or "make pretty pictures". They stand outside of society and culture and make a conscious comment on them. Yes, it is fair to say one purpose of art is to make you think. But to think about something specific. Artists, good artists put a lot of thought into what they are doing and what they specifically want you to think about when you view their work. They're not just guilding turds as it is so easy for so many amateur critics to say. All this "everything makes you think so everything is art" response is nonsense. Furthermore go to the gallery's statement on her art (referenced origionally only once in this thread I'm sorry to say) before contracting a case of diarhea of the mouth about how irrelevant or thoughtless the art is.

And furthermore I'm sick to death of this condemnation of controversial artists simply as profit motivated generators of shock value. Somebody takes a disturbing photo or paints a disturbing picture or writes a disturbing book and everyone cries out "Profiteer! You just did it for the money!" What, they're not supposed to want to get paid for their work? Not supposed to show and exhibit their work? Does everyone wants their artists and authors to languish in poverty for their entire lives and only be discovered when they're dead and gone because it makes for a more romantic story? Nonsense. Believe it or not being an artist is hard work and you deserve to get paid for it if someone appreciates your work enough to buy it. It takes years of training and dedication and sacrifice not to mention it's expensive. Paints, canvass, studio space, film, cameras, equipment, processing, printing, you think all that just grows on trees? What, you think that artists still live in the world of benefactors and patrons? Oh, wait, there's still the NEA at least. Oh wait, that's right, most of their funding got cut because a bunch of third rate hacks decided that even though the extent of their art education ended at Bob Ross, they still knew what was good art when they saw it and what was just shock value trash. So much for pisschrist. You think it's easy getting work shown in a serious gallery these days? You think it's easy passing up commercial jobs or positions assisting (which are paid) so you can do your own work which you really care about but which no one pays you for for a very long time, if ever? You think it's easy, okay then, quit your job copyrighting or accounting or web designing or whatever it is you do that makes you such an expert on art and go out there and try it. Go out there and make some art that's better than this. Let me know when you have your fist opening and I'll stop in and let you know what I think of your work.
posted by grandcrewno2 at 11:28 AM on January 11, 2005


Ironically, lodurr, I think it's you who's jaded. For you, this woman is either a serial killer or a troll. There's simply no possibility that she wanted to (and did) construct something beautiful. This foolishly pessimistic interpretation of other's motivations is the true definition of cynicism.
posted by nixerman at 11:42 AM on January 11, 2005


The animals didn't suffer, which is more than can be said for the cows made into hamburgers every day.

I, too, think she could have done just as well with the cats, for example, had she gotten them already dead, but what difference does that make, really?

Doesn't really bother me that much, and frankly, I like the art. Also amazes me how many times I've already seen this uproar elsewhere, when comparatively so many people seem to have no problem with human rights issues, and people suffering every day in places like Iraq. Where's the overwhelming sense of wrong there?
posted by agregoli at 12:02 PM on January 11, 2005


As usual, George Orwell said it best in Benefit of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dali:

"Now, if you showed this book, with its illustrations, to Lord Elton, to Mr. Alfred Noyes, to The Times leader writers who exult over the ‘eclipse of the highbrow’ — in fact, to any ‘sensible’ art-hating English person — it is easy to imagine what kind of response you would get. They would flatly refuse to see any merit in Dali whatever. Such people are not only unable to admit that what is morally degraded can be æsthetically right, but their real demand of every artist is that he shall pat them on the back and tell them that thought is unnecessary. And they can be especially dangerous at a time like the present, when the Ministry of Information and the British Council put power into their hands. For their impulse is not only to crush every new talent as it appears, but to castrate the past as well. Witness the renewed highbrow-baiting that is now going on in this country and America, with its outcry not only against Joyce, Proust and Lawrence, but even against T. S. Eliot.

But if you talk to the kind of person who can see Dali's merits, the response that you get is not as a rule very much better. If you say that Dali, though a brilliant draughtsman, is a dirty little scoundrel, you are looked upon as a savage. If you say that you don't like rotting corpses, and that people who do like rotting corpses are mentally diseased, it is assumed that you lack the æsthetic sense. Since ‘Mannequin rotting in a taxicab’ is a good composition. And between these two fallacies there is no middle position, but we seldom hear much about it. On the one side Kulturbolschevismus: on the other (though the phrase itself is out of fashion) ‘Art for Art's sake.’ Obscenity is a very difficult question to discuss honestly. People are too frightened either of seeming to be shocked or of seeming not to be shocked, to be able to define the relationship between art and morals.

It will be seen that what the defenders of Dali are claiming is a kind of benefit of clergy. The artist is to be exempt from the moral laws that are binding on ordinary people. Just pronounce the magic word ‘Art’, and everything is O.K.: kicking little girls in the head is O.K.; even a film like L'Age d'Or is O.K.(2) It is also O.K. that Dali should batten on France for years and then scuttle off like rat as soon as France is in danger. So long as you can paint well enough to pass the test, all shall be forgiven you.

[..]

There is always one escape: into wickedness. Always do the thing that will shock and wound people. At five, throw a little boy off a bridge, strike an old doctor across the face with a whip and break his spectacles — or, at any rate, dream about doing such things. Twenty years later, gouge the eyes out of dead donkeys with a pair of scissors. Along those lines you can always feel yourself original. And after all, it pays! It is much less dangerous than crime."
posted by ori at 12:04 PM on January 11, 2005


what moral gap? That we don't generally condone deliberately killing animals for aesthetic excitement?
posted by mdn at 12:45 PM EST on January 11


Oh, but we do. That's part of the hypocrisy. My shoes. Leather jackets. Furs. I'm not trying to be profound and certainly not sophomoric; I am merely saying that there is moral equivalence, and if people are outraged, well then, they better rethink why they are upset, or rethink their clothing and furniture choices. No one needs the above mentioned things. They have them because they are nice and soft and comfortable. And to get them, animals are killed. So what's the difference?
posted by exlotuseater at 12:11 PM on January 11, 2005


I get the impression these pieces would be more effective as sculpture, using careful facsimile in lieu of actual carcasses, in terms of confronting people with the stark reality of death vs. manufacture, which is what I take these pieces to be about; filtered again through artfully composed shots is at once too meta and not meta enough, somehow. I'm not sure the fact of her killing the animals herself adds much to the work, nor does it reconcile that well with the "outsider looking in at stilted Western values" business - if you don't care about such things why the emphasis on doing it? I think she is onto something, but why kill animals for your art if you can just create the impression that you have? I blame Warhol.

Long ago I had a black-and-white children's book photo-illustrated with cute poses of various apparently dead and stuffed kittens clothed and acting out an anthropomorphic story. I wish I hadn't lost it, as it was way more ghoulish than Edenmont's art. She could have just gotten a copy, put it in a glass case, and saved herself a lot of trouble plus gotten an additional layer of meta out of it! Too bad.
posted by furiousthought at 12:53 PM on January 11, 2005


Exlotuseater: I agree with you - but I think the obvious response is practical value. People will claim there is a distinction between shoes that keep our feet dry and photos that hang on the wall. I, myself, think that's a false dichotomy - mankind has been producing art about as long as it's been wearing clothes, often producing art by wearing clothes.

Furniture, on the other hand...well that's just inexcuseable. Who wants to sleep in a hollowed out elephant?
posted by Sparx at 12:54 PM on January 11, 2005


For you, this woman is either a serial killer or a troll. There's simply no possibility that she wanted to (and did) construct something beautiful.

That's not called "being jaded"; that's called having an accurate understanding of human psychology.

As in: If someone euthanizes pets to make pretty photos, there's a really good probability she has some pretty disturbing sociopathic tendencies.
posted by lodurr at 1:17 PM on January 11, 2005


Coda: I'd rather have my body feed something else than be paraded around in some kind of macabre, sterile spectacle.

I'd rather be paraded and give someone some fun, personally, like Bentham's Autoicon, (safe for work) his preserved corpse, on display at University College, London. It is apparently wheeled into meetings where the University want to intimidate the other side... But then, perhaps this desire to be something more than worm-food is what makes me human.
posted by alasdair at 1:29 PM on January 11, 2005


Who wants to sleep in a hollowed out elephant?

I think I just thought of the next great reality show....
posted by mudpuppie at 1:32 PM on January 11, 2005


As in: If someone euthanizes pets to make pretty photos, there's a really good probability she has some pretty disturbing sociopathic tendencies.

And the evidence for this is where, exactly?
posted by agregoli at 2:12 PM on January 11, 2005


Oh, but we do. That's part of the hypocrisy. My shoes. Leather jackets. Furs. ...They have them because they are nice and soft and comfortable. And to get them, animals are killed. So what's the difference?

The difference is they are nice and soft and comfortable. They serve a purpose. The only purpose this serves is its own sophomoric statement of "what purpose does this serve?"

The aesthetic excitement here is the killing of these animals, not the goods produced from animal remains. I find leather furniture unnecessary and hence unappealing, but leather shoes are acceptable to me because it is in fact quite difficult to find non-leather shoes that last as long or wear as well as leather does.

I'm not saying that there's no hypocrisy in the various choices people make about using animals. Personally, I just think it is a moral grey area that each of us has to consider personally. BUT: this "art project" does not add anything to the discussion. If you think there is no difference between killing mice because they're pests and killing mice because you want to use their scooped out corpses as finger puppets, then you're missing something.

Sure, it makes no difference to the mice. That is not the point. It makes a difference to the person doing the killing. We recognize the difference between cold blooded serial murder and execution, right? We recognize that death is part of life, but not a part which should be engaged in without some heaviness of heart.
posted by mdn at 2:16 PM on January 11, 2005


mdn:
The difference is they are nice and soft and comfortable. They serve a purpose. The only purpose this serves is its own sophomoric statement of "what purpose does this serve?"
The aesthetic excitement here is the killing of these animals, not the goods produced from animal remains.


I have to disagree with this- the "goods" that are produced are no less tangible than shoes. Animals serving purpose as shoes=animals serving purpose as art.

We recognize the difference between cold blooded serial murder and execution, right?

The difference being that some people condone the practice of government cold-bloodedly serial-murdering criminals. But this is another argument altogether.

I do agree with you that it's a moral grey area that everyone needs to figure out for themselves. I wouldn't kill mice for coming in my house, much less for fingerpuppets, but I think that a lot of people here are making the assumption that the artist is some giggling crosseyed nutball that gets off on killing. I can't speak for the artist, but the killing seems to be a means and an end. I would also posit that there are some people here that are dismissing the exhibit out-of-hand, saying "This is only for shock value.", or using words like "sophomoric". If that's their reaction, then who am I to tell them they're wrong? All I can say is that I think that there's a deeper message in the work. I'm not sure that I can articulate it, but the artist managed to do something to me.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. I think that it's beautiful, but I'm conflicted. Which to me, makes it good.
posted by exlotuseater at 3:09 PM on January 11, 2005


lodurr & mdn have said virtually everything that needs to be said, as far as I'm concerned. I find a lot of the arguments in favor of this artist very troubling and just sad.

I guess I'm more human than artist, sorry guys.
posted by tastybrains at 4:09 PM on January 11, 2005


Well, shit, I killed and ate a puppy for lunch. And here I'd promised to not do that any more.

I'm sorry. I promise I'll use the carcass to make some nice warm slippers, though.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:52 PM on January 11, 2005


hey, we just euthanized our old lady cat a few months ago. it was time for her to go. she knew it and so did we. we had talked about getting her taxidermed into one of her favorite poses: "Is That For Me?", or "Look At My Butt", or "Stay Here, I'm Sleeping." would that have been better or worse (moral outrage/taste/shock value/whatever) than cutting off her head and tail and putting them to a vase?
posted by zombiejesus at 1:33 AM on January 12, 2005


f3, zombiejesus - you might have missed the point, excuse me if I'm wrong. This is a hand-clapped-over-the-mouth moment about the death of an animal soley for the purpose of art, not about the many and varied uses of a carcass. I don't think anyone is too upset about her using dead animals in her work.


“Artists jobs are not to "play by the rules" or "be nice" or "make pretty pictures". They stand outside of society and culture and make a conscious comment on them.”
Belly laugh, grandcrewno2.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:38 AM on January 12, 2005


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