Brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman have taken pastoral paintings by Adolf Hitler added some psychedelic rainbows and hearts to the scene. Calling the work “If Hitler had been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be” the plan is to sell them as one piece. Taking the £115,000 work of Hitler and selling them for £685,000.
Chapman hoped the defacement of Hitler’s work, which includes landscapes, vistas of Roman ruins and still life, which the dictator painted when he was young, would have him “spinning”. The changes they had added meant it was no longer Hitler’s work, he added.
“If hell exists and Hitler exists in it, he would be spinning if he saw these. It’s not his work any more. It’s our work,” he said.
Sneaker blog SlamXHype blogged about this a few days ago.
“Last year, Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, in the name of art, took a dog from the street, and starved him to death. Endorsed by the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American, Habacuc has been invited to repeat this unbelievably cruel act again in 2008. We at SlamXhype stand with Arkitip Intelligence in boycotting this ‘artist’ and urge you to sign this petition to end this right now.”
From the Yale Daily News:
Art major Aliza Shvarts ’08 wants to make a statement.
Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.
The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body. But her project has already provoked more than just debate, inciting, for instance, outcry at a forum for fellow senior art majors held last week. And when told about Shvarts’ project, students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock . saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.
But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for “shock value.”
“I hope it inspires some sort of discourse,” Shvarts said. “Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it’s not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.”
The “fabricators,” or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.
Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself.
Art major Juan Castillo ’08 said that although he was intrigued by the creativity and beauty of her senior project, not everyone was as thrilled as he was by the concept and the means by which she attained the result.
March 30, 2008 · Print This Article
San Francisco Art Institute has canceled closed the controversial Abdessemed exhibition as well as the public forum. The exhibition was curated by Hou Hanru, who was interviewed by us in Episode 129.
From the SFAI Website:
In response to a series of violent threats by animal-rights extremists, the San Francisco Art Institute announced today that the public discussion on Adel Abdessemed’s exhibition Don’t Trust Me, scheduled for Monday, 31 March, has been canceled. For the same reasons, the exhibition itself, which was temporarily suspended on Wednesday, 26 March, has now been permanently closed.
“We unconditionally repudiate these threats against SFAI,” stated President Chris Bratton: “My first concern is with the safety and security of SFAI’s students, faculty, staff, and their families, as well as members of the public that regularly visit the campus. In light of the violent threats by extremists against this institution, we are unfortunately forced to cancel any public discussion or display regarding this artwork.”
Soon after it opened, the Abdessemed exhibition became the subject of an orchestrated campaign by a number of animal-rights groups, including Animal Liberation Front (ALF), In Defense of Animals (IDA), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). One result of this campaign was a parallel onslaught of explicit death threats and threats of sexual violence against SFAI staff members and their families. The swift escalation from controversy to credible threats has regrettably forced SFAI to make a decision unprecedented in its 137-year history.
“Though we’ve decided to take this action,” continued President Bratton, “SFAI stands behind the exhibition as an instance of a long-standing and serious commitment, on SFAI’s part, to reflection on, and free and open discussion of, contemporary global art and culture. As an institution, we take seriously our responsibility to encourage and promote such dialogue.”
“The artist,” continued President Bratton, “participated in an already-existing circuit of food production in a rural community in Mexico. The animals were raised for food, purchased, and professionally slaughtered. In fact, what causes the controversy is that Abdessemed, an artist, entered this exchange, filmed it, and exhibited it.”
“Here, then, is a case where highly local assumptions about how things are produced have come to inform how the world itself is seen. In general, consumption in the US is fueled by things produced out of sight and from far away. In many cultures, particularly those of the global south including Mexico, the killing of animals for food is often direct and present, not concealed from sight as is the case of industrialized food production here. This distinction is certainly relevant to Don’t Trust Me. Admittedly, this is an uncomfortable confrontation for some, but is nevertheless a real condition not only for animals, but also for the people whose lives are bound up with them. Simply stated, it is an outrage that threats of violence have, in this case, succeeded in derailing a public debate on issues that are critical to our everyday lives.”
The press release can be found here.
March 28, 2008 · Print This Article
An exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute’s (SFAI) Walter And McBean Galleries has been suspended after the gallery received over 3000 emails from students, faculty, and community members in protest. Don’t Trust Me is French artist Adel Abdessemed’s first exhibition on the West Coast. The controversial work consists of several monitors, each showing looped footage of a tethered animal – a goat, an ox, a horse, a sheep, a pig, and a fawn – being hit on the head with sledge hammer. In addition to the contentious footage, the exhibition includes a large neon brain, a series of wall drawings, and a large video installation that features the artist hanging from a helicopter while trying to draw Gericault’s Raft Of The Medusa (1818).
The institute is having an open forum at 12PM Monday at their lecture hall where concerned individuals will be able to discuss the issues surrounding the work with Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and former BAS interviewee Hou Hanru, Dean of Academic Affairs Okwui Enwezor, and institute professors and artists John Rapko and Tony Labat. If you happen to be in the area, please come.
Mining the media fallout:
The San Francisco FOX affiliate KTVU did a short segment on the exhibition, watch it here.
SFAI has a statement out on Tuesday.
San Rafael-based animal rights organization In Defense Of Animals has referred to the videos as animal snuff films, you can link to their interpretation of the exhibition, here.
San Francisco SPCA has released a statement condemning the exhibition, read that here.
The San Francisco Examiner published an article about the exhibition, read that here.