Is this art?

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  1. Stevennix2001 profile image82
    Stevennix2001posted 12 years ago

    Okay, I was just talking to Rick (fake name to protect his identity) the other day, who visited an art museum with his fiance.  It was basically one of those high profile museums where you see a bunch of high profile upper class citizens partake in some of the world's most modern and prestigious art.  It had a valet and everything you'd expect from such a prestigious place.  Anyways, it's a legitimate art gallery that features modern art.  The reason I mention this and emphasize it's a legitimate art museum is because the next bit will shock you. 

    Now, in the gallery, there was a live performed center piece.  You know, one of those performance art gallery pieces?  I'm sure some of you might've heard of it, or seen one before. If not, then look it up. Anyways, this piece showed a guy with his pants down, looking at bunch of tv screens with ordinary fully clothed women on them, and he was jerking off to them.  Yes, this was featured in a legitimate art museum, and it was deemed a piece of modern art.  A guy jerking off is considered a work of art folks according this museum.  Personally, I think it's outright gross, but what are your thoughts on this?

    1. tony0724 profile image61
      tony0724posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Well some guy had put a figure of Jesus into urine and decided to call it art. Fortunately someone destroyed it a couple of weeks ago. Art as defined by the highbrow crowd seems like trash to me. And obviously those that find this to be creative have really lowered the bar for taste in modern society.

      1. recommend1 profile image60
        recommend1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I think you are right - except in reverse - it is about the lack of taste of  modern society.

      2. Sally's Trove profile image78
        Sally's Troveposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Art and taste have often been at odds. In fact, tasteful art has been the bane of art movements starting with the Paris salon exhibition of 1865 when Manet revealed Olympia.

        There were and are always tasteful pot-boilers (artworks that ride on the social acceptance of the times and are created for money). Today's pot-boilers include the Kinkade paintings. Everyone understands them, or should I say is comforted by them. But they don't send out a message that makes us question who we are and why we are here.

        This sorry performance art showing a guy jacking off disturbs me...if I were viewing Manet's Olympia in 1865, I'd be disturbed too. But I'd also be questioning what I believe at the core of me. What are my values? How have they been compromised? These are only two of many questions.

        An artist may be the one who gets me off my high horse and into the streets with the rest of the world.

  2. Stevennix2001 profile image82
    Stevennix2001posted 12 years ago

    by the way, in case any of you bring this up, my friend is very reliable, and he would never lie about something like this. trust me, i would've been able to tell if he did.  lollol

    1. Richieb799 profile image67
      Richieb799posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      was it a real guy?  I feel the whole shock thing was played out long ago and I think it is crude and unsophisticated.

      1. Stevennix2001 profile image82
        Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Not sure which guy your talking about.  My friend Rick or the guy jacking off in the display.  If your referring to Rick, then I can assure you he's a guy, as he's actually my brother.  Of course, Rick is not his real name, but I know he's a guy.  If not, then him, our parents, and his fiance have done one helluva of a job hiding it over the years.  lol

        However, if you're referring to the guy in the performance piece, then I honestly couldn't tell you, as I wasn't there.  As I said in the OP, Rick was the one that saw and told me about this display; which begged me to ask this forum question to you folks out there.  Personally, I wouldn't be the least bit shocked either if the guy was actually a girl and like Recommend1, I think there probably would've been a deeper meaning had the TV screens showed the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, or any other violent programming.  But that's just me.  I would comment more on this but as I told Sunforged, I need to do some more research into this before commenting on this any further.  Sure, I may think it's gross, but I'm still on the fence of whether or not I would deem this art.  Therefore, I'll have to get back to you on that soon.  lol

  3. sunforged profile image73
    sunforgedposted 12 years ago


    Not a very new concept though, google "seedbed' or check this out … rling-ruby

    I think your thoughts on this would be more interesting, you enjoy writing critical reviews of art (in film format), why do you think the Museum and its patrons considered this to fall under the banner of art?

    1. Stevennix2001 profile image82
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      wow, I can't believe that's considered art. If i had known making something like this would've been deemed artistic, then I wish I would've thought of it years ago. lol j/k Seriously though, I just don't get it to be honest.  Then again, I'm sure many critics said the same thing about Picasso, and his unique style of paintings, when he first started.  Therefore, who am I to judge?  I guess one man's definition of weird is another man's definition of art, or something to that effect. I appreciate you sharing the site link with us sunforged. smile

    2. Stevennix2001 profile image82
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Sorry, I didn't notice you edited your post to include this question before.  That's a fairly good question to be quite honest, and I'm honored for your interest into knowing what I think about this.  I'll definitely have to get back to you on that, as I know in art everything always has a subliminal meaning to it.  therefore, i'll have to do some research to find out what was the exact inspiration of this artist(s) that started this whole style of art, then get back to you from there.  Sorry, I can't give you an exact answer now, but I think it's probably best if I research it first, so I can give you a more detailed answer on that.

  4. recommend1 profile image60
    recommend1posted 12 years ago

    I would say that this is a piece that is commenting on pornography and sexuality.  The nature of it is shocking to most people and that ispart of the art of it, to shock with a scene of what males do as a relatively normal act but showing it in public.  Because the female objects of the masturbator were clothed I would say it is commenting more on the male figure and his actions first - then the relation of his actions to the female form.  It might be illustrating the sexual saturation of the visual media by pornography and, in shifting the focus to the single user and multiple screens, saying something about the pathetic isolating nature of it all.  Or then again he could just be a w@nk!er

    1. Mark Ewbie profile image81
      Mark Ewbieposted 12 years agoin reply to this


  5. Sally's Trove profile image78
    Sally's Troveposted 12 years ago

    I don't find the idea of a guy jerking off in public particularly shocking. Years ago I would have, but not now considering the sex and violence we're exposed to every day on TV and the net and what have you. What is shocking is that the stimulation for it wasn't what I'd expect (to your point, recommend1). I'd say there's an element of art in that. smile

    1. recommend1 profile image60
      recommend1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Maybe part of the idea might be that we don't find the idea of a guy jerking off in public so especially offensive any more, then if we do think so then what about the porn in peoples own computers and creeping into daily life and advertising etc.

      I would have found it more interesting (maybe) if the tv displays had featured the 'action' of killing OBL.

      1. Sally's Trove profile image78
        Sally's Troveposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Well, there are plenty of performance art venues around the world...send me an invite when you set this one up. lol

  6. donotfear profile image85
    donotfearposted 12 years ago

    I wouldn't consider it art either. Just an excuse to display a taboo.

  7. Disturbia profile image59
    Disturbiaposted 12 years ago

    It sounds pretty interesting to me actually.  Obviously the piece was designed to shock, or maybe not.  Artists, film makers, and musicians all push the envelope and with each generation the things that shock us evolve.  The only issue I might have is whether this display was accessible to younger viewers.  We don't know anything about the circumstances.  Was it a private showing or open to the general public?  People do bring their children to museums.  Nudes have been a subject of art since there was art, so a nude male in a performance art piece is not a stretch.  It's the jacking off part that I'm not sure would be appropriate for a grade school field trip to witness.  But than again, have you watched MTV lately?

    1. Sally's Trove profile image78
      Sally's Troveposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      The jacking off part definitely is not appropriate for youngsters. Whether this was fact or fiction, it is a telling model for making a decision to rate age-appropriateness for performance art, sorry to say.

      If I had a bit more time, I'd create a poster one could put on a museum door rating the exhibition...maybe someone's done that already.

      Yes, about MTV. That's a body of work that numbs us and our kids to sex and violence, to the point that viewing a jerk jack off in public is not much of a surprise.

      The 60s popularized the performance art form (it had been around for centuries in mime, for example). The most shocking things that happened in the 60s were such performances as nude theater (with no sexual innuendo) and gallery exhibitions that shocked by destroying crucifixes or enacting vomiting. For the time, that was shocking, but it seems so tame now.

  8. seanorjohn profile image71
    seanorjohnposted 12 years ago

    It's art but not as we know it. I categorise it as degenerate art. Talentless trash. I'm not shocked by it, just bemused.

  9. Richieb799 profile image67
    Richieb799posted 12 years ago

    I was on about the guy in the piece of art lol

    1. Stevennix2001 profile image82
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      oh okay. i gotcha.  lollol it would be something if that were the case.  lol

  10. profile image0
    klarawieckposted 12 years ago

    This would have been part of everyday life in ancient Rome. No biggie... compared to going to the bakery to buy bread. The only reason why we think of it as distasteful is because it's a  taboo in our society. There are many things that we consider part of our ordinary life and are not worthy of being demonstrated as an art form... defecating being one of those things we just don't want to look at! However, if an artist wants to take the risk of putting something out there to get everyone's attention, then they can very well do an exposition based on that. Anyways, the whole point of art is to try to get a reaction from the audience...good or bad, it doesn't matter. Now, I wouldn't go to a museum to see some guy jerking off. We have the erotic museum of South Beach and I've heard it's much better! lol Do I think it's art? That's very subjective, it depends on your opinion. Jackson Pollock's dripping technique is considered art and to some people is just a giant waste of art supplies.


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