Thursday, August 11, 2005

Shameless Self-Promotion, Plus Some Analysis

I'm terrible at posting. Sorry. Anyway, the infamous James W. Bailey constructed an open dialogue/interview-thing for me, which is now posted on his blog, Black Cat Bone:

It was a lot of fun to do, so I thank Bailey for the gazillionth time for letting me do something like that. My ego is now fat and sassy. For those who don’t know the reference, go see “Rejected”. It’s hilarious.

He also features Scott Brooks, who’s painting “Allegory of a Gay Bashing” was right next to my photos at “Seven”, and I couldn’t stop staring at it. I’m still marinating, so to speak. I like it, but something seems a little off. That’s probably the point.

Everyone seems to be raising a snit about the kitten and puppy at the bottom of his painting. I’ve heard some people say they’re gratuitous, and they’re detrimental to the overall effect of the paining. But I disagree. Brooks admits in his own artist statement that he wants to make people feel uncomfortable, which can apply to the viewer’s intellect as much as it can apply to their response towards the subject matter. Yes, AOAGB (sorry, I’m too lazy to type is all out again) would be powerful without the furry accessories, but their inclusion is exactly what pushes the work over the line to make it uncomfortable. Homophobia is awful, and what happened to Matthew Sheppard and his family makes me sick, but most people feel this way too. That’s not new. Even if the viewer is a gay-bashing racist SOB, the idea of castration would (hopefully) have the same effect as homophobia for the rest of us. Think about how society thinks about kittens and puppies. We like them. We accept them. We encourage their presence. They are common images. Nearly everyone has been exposed to a cat or dog at least once in their lifetime. So given that, what does that say when you group those images with a castrated, lynched, dead gay man? For me and only me, at least (I’m not going to put words in Brooks’ mouth), it’s a sardonic commentary on the fact that homophobia has become as commonplace and accepted (and even encouraged) enough to be grouped in with kittens and puppies. I’ll admit, this is a very elementary analysis, and it might be as simple as just trying to make people uncomfortable (I’m a fan of Occam’s Razor), but you have to admit, a powerful painting like AOAGB if rife with symbolism, and the Art History major in me just really wants to dissect it.


Anonymous Mark Rikard said...

I''ll be back. Later :)

9:05 AM  

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