EDITORIAL – Call it art if you like, but this stuff is still pornography


Poster doesn’t provide any hint of some of the more shocking works included in current art exhibit.

THE KAMLOOPS ART Gallery has always liked to challenge us on the question of what’s art, and what’s not.

melcolhed-sep2016Among my favourite exhibits in this vein have been the one that featured hanging extension cords and another in which ball bearings were dropped from the ceiling. And there was one that consisted of a pile of logs, and another of a tangle of HVAC ducting.

All in the guise of art.

Now, though, the gallery has crossed a line into new territory — hardcore porno.

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15 Comments on EDITORIAL – Call it art if you like, but this stuff is still pornography

  1. Now that the question of whether the exhibit qualifies as pornography (no, it doesn’t) has been settled, maybe we can ask Mel to stick to his strengths when choosing his topics. Clearly, art criticism is not one of them. Bear in mind, Mel was part of group that gave us the insipid ode to “art by committee” that sits outside the gallery. On the bright side, many more people are now aware of this show at the gallery — hopefully that translates into more viewers.

    • Mel Rothenburger // January 27, 2017 at 8:16 AM // Reply

      A good debate on art is always fun, but I’m interested in your notion that only certain people should be allowed to comment on art. As for the Wildfire Memorial, it is true that I proposed it, and sat on the committee that chose the artist and design, and the resulting commemoration of those who fought the wildfires is something of which we should all be proud. (The artist, by the way, also created that big piece of cheese up at the TCC, so he doesn’t hit a home run every time.)

      • You’re right — everyone has a right to comment on it. And it is fun. It’s not unlikely that the artist set out to stir up exactly these types of conversations (or maybe he had something completely different in mind — who knows). What irks me is your tone of disapproval of the gallery’s decision when you say they “crossed a line”. I say, good for them. Make people talk, make people think. We need more critical thinking and honest discussion, not less. BTW, I prefer the cheese.

  2. Ok, but real world pornography has a purpose, as inappropriate as it is … and I’ll let your mind wander as towards what that purpose is … but when it’s likeness hangs in a gallery that definition and purpose does not exist. That environment re aligns the piece as it is, on its own without any connection to any other reality, because of where it is. In the cold light of day our perception might say it ‘could be’ one thing, but if its culturally intended purpose is removed from that perception
    … it ends up being about us.

    Let us remember that Pope Pius IX whacked off marble genitalia, indeed Michelangelo was denigrated for his work in the Sistine for the same reason. Today we laugh at the ludicrousness of that. Why?
    Because art … is art.

  3. CAMILLE B VILLENEUVE // January 26, 2017 at 2:59 PM // Reply

    As I said on another page, we used to associate the word “art” with something that everyone would call beautiful, like a statue by Michelangelo, or a painting by Rembrandt. Well, no more. Now any idiot can put a pile of dog droppings on a plate and call it art. No skill needed, only the approval of your peers. Just look at that pile of rocks in Riverside Park, I think it is called Raven’s Nest.

  4. ART expanding the realm of what we accaopt as art just makes the subject more acceptable and accessible. In my opinion most of these works don’t deserve to be displayed.

  5. I think consideration should be given to those viewers, who could have just expected a bit of culture. Not a shocking display of hardcore porn! Especially those of a much younger generation just strolling in to view actual ‘art’. What a complete defamation of the human body , as ‘art’. A completely disgraceful exhibit! Next time a trip to the museum will be in a better taste of ‘art’.

  6. Well, you piqued my interest. Not sure I will go to the art gallery but did look up the artist. He has a particular fixation.

  7. I felt ambushed and left early without seeing all the exhibit realizing that I may have missed some “art” but did not want to risk polluting my mind / memory any further.
    No warnings anywhere.
    Some of the other artists there are also annoyed at this abuse of the public by a public funded organization.
    Our minds are a great creations and this show is NOT.
    You can see the Sustainability displays without entering the main gallery and they are inspiring.

  8. Daniela O'Fee // January 25, 2017 at 2:30 PM // Reply

    According to the Oxford dictionary, pornography is meant to provoke erotic stimulation. Therefor, if you were stimulated, you can call it porn.

    • Mel Rothenburger // January 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM // Reply

      Believe me, there’s nothing stimulating about these paintings. Shocking, yes. Obscene, yes. Check it out and let us know what you think.

      • There is nothing wrong with “it” as long as it is worn properly, IMHO.
        I did not find it obscene but ugly yes and quite pointless…

      • Daniela O'Fee // January 25, 2017 at 4:27 PM //

        I visited on Saturday right after the Women’s March. The front desk staff gives a fair warning so I was not shocked. Sometimes art (whether it is literary, visual, auditory or performance) has caused full on riots such as the first performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. I am glad KAG is pushing the boundaries. The side hall has some pretty horse drawings by Ann Kipling for those who prefer something more tame.

      • Yes Daniela, I am also a big supporter of “boundaries push” but pretty please!

    • If that is the definition then it was not porn, it was just ugly.

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