09 June 2007

"Feminist" art





Kate Muir on the 'Sugar and Spice' exhibition at the Vegas Gallery:

I'd previously seen the work of one of the eight female exhibitors, Kelly Jenkins, who knits radiators. She uses large stitches, plain and purl, made of steel tubes that actually heat up. Possibly it says something about a woman's place being in the plumbing. ...

Sugar and Spice was advertised as "a show about little girls' dreams and lost innocence". For a moment I thought the whole show was a huge joke, but no, the curator "Ken Pratt" was real, and he added, "A feminist critique is, naturally, present in many of these artists' works ­ — after all, what woman making art in 2007 could do so without the historic framework of feminist thought?" ...

[How] could Jenkins have failed to notice the Emin-imitation of her stained pillow prettily sewn with the words: "But I thought you were on the pill". Then came Hinke Schreuders'
Into The Woods. Yes, it was a reference to lost innocence with a felt Red Riding Hood cloak, and to modernise the theme, a blue felt Monica dress with white stains.
Physiology, in evidence here in the work of Jenkins and Schreuders, combines two of mediocracy’s favourite themes: (1) the body (supportive of "equality" i.e. homogeneity), and (2) realism (i.e. the desire to disgust).

In effect, realism is a form of aggression against those members of the audience who find its presentations offensive. However, the aggression is 'legitimised' by reference to the fact that the sensibilities being offended can be regarded as bourgeois.

The point of 'realism' is not to make people more aware of reality, but to make them feel hopeless and degraded. A dejected person is more likely to surrender to the collective, and is therefore more useful to mediocracy.