Last night I attended a lecture given by a girl who grew up with too much money and supremely easygoing parents. It must be nice, the life of the wealthy, when they can, on a whim, buy 500 pounds of chocolate and chew on it for a month, then sell it as art in a gallery. It must be nice not to have to worry much about true creative originality when mommy and daddy can buy you connections in the so-called art world right out of the gates of the expensive art school you went to.
She began with her earliest work out of college, which was a depiction of a cast of her breast arranged next to one of her nipple, a vacant space beyond that, and rubber nipples arranged linearly following the space. It was about the gap between the natural and the invented. Then she showed us the blocks of chocolate and lard she chewed on for a month and stuck in a gallery. Minimalistic. She showed us how she dunked herself in a tub of lard, shaved off the displaced fat, and made a giant cube of soap out of it, then told us she bathed herself with the soap because she was enamored with the idea of using the body to wash the body. Then she just started using her other body parts as a brush. I would say it seemed avant-garde had it not already been done to death by other overly impulsive artists prior to her own attempts. She ended the lecture by showing a piece she had worked on involving dumping honey on a naked man pretending to be a fetus.
My expectations were mostly matched, though there was an air of naivety to the artist I hadn’t anticipated. She at least admitted her work was experimental, in some capacity.
Perhaps I’m already jaded with the affairs of art. Perhaps I simply wasn’t in a great mood. Perhaps being made to go there warped an opinion that could otherwise have been more optimistic. Regardless of why, the lecture served to deepen my contempt for those who create first and decide why later, particularly when I can bet they’re making more money than I ever will with their backwards process.
That isn’t to say I don’t understand the messages the artist was attempting to convey; my pride simply won’t allow me to care. After all, I’m not an artist. I’m just a computer science major.