September 1, 2005

Luxuriating in pain.

Times are too troubled for performance art like this:
Tattoo artist Lea Smith will prick [artist Mary] Coble's skin to form the names of hate crime victims from the nation's gay, bisexual and transgender communities....

Once the tattooist etches a name (she won't use ink), blood will well on Coble's skin. Then Smith will press paper against the welts to make mirror-image prints of the first names. As the evening progresses, her prints will wallpaper the gallery with victims' names written in blood.
With ordinary people suffering in New Orleans (and elsewhere), who should care about an artist voluntarily taking on pain for show?

Which is greater, the pain Coble will suffer or her self-indulgence? Her devotion to the anti-hate crimes cause or her devotion to her career advancement?

6 comments:

Mary said...

I dunno. Hating on homosexuals seems to bring release to a good portion of the angry population. It seems to have unified people before... When people get worked up and angry, a common enemy does wonders to direct the hate.

D said...

I think you're missing the point. I don't think Mary's doing this to be self-indulgent, she's doing this to raise awareness through art. She's not comparing herself to hurrican survivors or trying to make herself a martyr. She's just trying to get people to talk about a subject that few are willing to breach. I wish her the best...

Ann Althouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Mary: The cause may be good, but a self-promoting person can adopt a cause for her own purposes.

D: Well, that's your answer to my questions. Let's see what other people say. I'm more dubious of the motivations and methods of those who call themselves artists.

miklos rosza said...

How will any awareness be raised through preaching to the converted? The art world demographic is not the same demographic that gay-bashes.

By contrast, the film "Boys Don't Cry" may have reached a few who don't read Artforum, BOMB, Art in America or ArtNews.

lindsey said...

Agreed. This is all about Miss Mary's ego. She's trying to impress the people in her peer group, not actually improve the world. In a sense she is trying to martyr herself. At the very least she's going to undergo a lot of pain in order to help people except getting tattoos isn't going to save lives. This is indulgent, pretentious and ultimtely useless.