Artless Art

There has been much fuss about the British artist Damien Hirst, infamous for putting cattle in formaldehyde and calling it artwork. But Hirst’s iconoclasm is nothing compared to the Czech pseudoartist David Černý, who specialises in offending as many people as possible. In this respect, he’s highly successful; he makes me feel shame for being from the same country.


Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

15 thoughts

    1. It surely is different. I guess I’d be OK with this kind of art if the artist performed it privately, but I was very upset for instance with the affair surrounding Entropy, the work which pokes unpleasant fun of the European nations. It was naturally received with much displeasure by the European Union, to which it was represented — not presented, but publicly represented at some occasion.


  1. The debate over what qualifies as art is probably as old as the caves in which neanderthals first daubed paint on the walls. I know I have artist friends who get irked by the likes of Anthony Gormley because he has a studio of workers producing his creative ideas for him or are angered by artists who produce what is expected of them for business reasons rather than for artistic ones. As a consumer of art, I tend to be guided only by what appeals to me. I try to judge on the impact a piece has on me rather than anything I might know about the artist who created it or their wider context. As such, it all boils down to taste. I do think some artists take their provocation too far at times. Yes, art should be challenging and thought-provoking at times in the same way that written texts should be. However, when you place that “challenging” art in a public forum you are not making allowances for the diversity of the audience or the context in which it has been placed. I, for instance, would not be best pleased if I had to explain to my children why their were statues of genital-faced children (a la Jake and Dinos Chapman) in the town square. Certainly when the very intention is to offend rather than prompt discussion or challenge thoughts and perceptions then it is definitely not to my taste as public art.


    1. You said it very nicely. I can imagine cavemen arguing about what’s proper cave art 😀

      I understand the attitude of your artist friend; and I tend to use the same approach to art as you do. I like what appeals to me, and if I find some art deliberately and pointlessly provocative or personally offensive, I just don’t pursue it. This is however a problem with art displayed at public places, to which you are exposed like it or not, as is the case of the artist that is the subject of this post. I can’t see any message or purpose in his creations but to shock and offend to gain publicity. It’s saddening to see that his tactics works.

      You made me Google the Chapmans and now I sorely regret it… I’ll post something nicer the next time!


  2. A lot has been done in the name of art. It’s a safe haven for a lot of things that do cross the line and I think you’re right this is one of them. We had controversy re a painting of a young girl topless just pre pubescent and it was taken out of a gallery rightly so but the artist was adamant there was nothing wrong. …. yet if it was a photograph there would be no question. Great article Mara.


    1. Exactly what you say. Art serves as an excuse for what is occasionally simply inexcusable. I’m glad that my post inspired such thoughtful responses, and I’m happy that we agree on this one 🙂 It is possibly very artless and ignorant of me, but I tend to only enjoy visual art that pleases my eye. Not that makes me want to scream…


    1. Good that you’re amused! At least something good about it! I find it mostly offensive rather than amusing. But now that you mention it, I’m starting to suspect that the artist thinks he is being funny…


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