Mon. February 20
Pic of the Week
Is this art?
The Daily Beast thinks the eight-feet tall sculpture by artist Tom Friedman is ”a landmark: probably the only self-portrait of an artist in the act of urination, and certainly the only one made from turkey-roasting pans.” The work, which is on exhibit at the Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York, is not Friedman’s first attempt to subversively shock and awe his audience:
A decade ago, Friedman established himself as one of the liveliest figures in American art. There was the flea-size speck of his own feces, on view in a show that toured to the New Museum in New York in 2001. “I wanted to find a material that you could present the smallest amount of and it would have the most impact,” he once said, an argument I bought but that others dismissed as horse crap. (Wrong animal, but never mind.) There was also the bloody portrait of himself as a suicidal jumper who’d just hit the ground. . .
How . . . deep? That, at least, is what the art critics and museum curators think. They’re the ones, after all, who have nationally exhibited and reviewed his works to great acclaim.
But I’m hard-pressed to see how Friedman’s “art” is any different than the shenanigans of bubble-gum pop stars like M.I.A. and Justin Bieber, who have both been in the news recently for dropping the f-bomb on their fans (M.I.A. did it at the Superbowl; Bieber did it at Disneyland). Friedman’s urinating self-portrait is cut from the same cloth, isn’t it? It’s just a veiled f— you to his fans and critics, whom he seems content to treat with hostile condescension. The only difference between him and M.I.A./Bieber is that Friedman has succeeded in getting his critics to ohh and ahh at his aggressive little outburst, while the two pop stars have been roundly criticized for theirs.
In that way, I think we can can thank and praise our pop culture writers for being more honest and perceptive about their standards and criticisms than our high culture critics are.